NEW DELHI: The ensuing Rajya Sabha elections have seen a flurry of activity. The BJP now has to face the embarrassment of its deputy leader in Rajya Sabha being unseated. S S Ahluwalia, who was occupying the position, has not managed to get a re-nomination from the party.
The party had initially planned to field him as the third candidate from Bihar, where it was engaged in a one-upmanship with the alliance partner JDU. While the NDA alliance can win six seats in the state, the BJP wanted to contest three seats, leaving three to the JDU. This was not acceptable to the JDU, although, the BJP had helped them with surplus votes in the last elections on the promise that that the JDU would return the favour in the next elections.
With the JDU sticking to its guns, Ahluwalia, who’s had a long stint in the Upper House, stands to be unseated. In the BJP, one group was strongly rooting for the Ahluwalia. Leaders like L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj were keen that Ahluwalia be re-nominated, while party president Nitin Gadkari was averse to the idea. Gadkari first wanted his own confidants to figure on the list - one of his faithful, party general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan has been made the second candidate (after party general secretary and chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad) for the Bihar list.
Ahluwalia, who originally hails from Bihar, represented Jharkhand in the Upper House, but was keen on shifting to Bihar for another term. The BJP is not fielding any candidate in Jharkhand, where it is engaged in a tiff with alliance partner, the JMM.