NEW DELHI: The BJP on Friday released the party’s first list of 12 names for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. And contrary to speculation, the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley has been re-nominated from Gujarat. Earlier, there were reports that Jaitley might be fielded from Bihar as he had a good rapport with state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who heads a JD(U)-BJP government there.
The BJP has fielded two candidates from Bihar, including party’s general secretary and chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, as well as another general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan. In fact, Prasad has been renominated from Bihar.
Despite the good vibes between the BJP and the JDU in Bihar, there is an intense tussle between the two parties over securing the maximum number of RS nominations from the state. While the JD (U) wants to contest four seats, leaving two for the BJP, the BJP is insisting on getting at least three seats in Bihar.
Among the list of candidates released by the BJP, the name of Ajay Sancheti, a Nagpur-based businessman and a member of BJP chief Nitin Gadkari’s inner circle, is certain to raise the eyebrows. Sancheti was in the news recently when it was revealed that his driver owned a flat in Mumbai’s controversial Adarsh society. And Sancheti was elevated to the BJP national executive after Gadkari became the party chief.
Another Gadkari confidant to figure on the list is general secretary J P Nadda - he has been nominated from his home turf in Himachal Pradesh. Yet another Gadkari faithful who has made it to the RS candidates’ list is Bhupendra Yadav, who has been fielded from Rajasthan. Presently Yadav is the party’s national secretary.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has fielded Thewarchand Gehlot, former RS Speaker, Najma Heptullah, Kaptan Singh Solanki and Faggan Singh Kulaste. And Heptualh, the great grand daughter of the legendary freedom fighter Maulana Azad is considered close to the BJP patriarch L K Advani.
And in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, BJP vice-president Vinay Katiyar has received the nod while Bhushan Lal Jhangde has been fielded from Chhattisgarh. The final list of six BJP names is expected in the next couple of days.