Come February 7, the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha will pave the way for many new faces in the Upper House of Parliament.
From a district women’s wing secretary of a political party to a painter, journalists, advocates and film actors, 55 members will enter the precincts of the Council of States, along with veteran politicians, to create a balance in the composition of the ‘House of elders’.
Maratha strongman and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and three-time Chief Minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit will enter the Rajya Sabha for the first time. The Congress leaders such as 85-year-old Motilal Vora; 93-year-old Rishang Keishing, the first Lok Sabha member from Manipur; and party veteran from Maharashtra Murli Deora will continue to be members of the Rajya Sabha. The terms of 55 members of Rajya Sabha were ending in April. To fill up the vacancies, biennial elections were being held on February 7. For the six seats from Tamil Nadu that would go to polls, ruling AIADMK has fielded all new faces for the four seats it could win with S Muthukrishnan (Tirunelveli city district secretary), L Sasikala Pushpa (party’s women’s wing secretary ), Vijila Sathyanand (party’s Tirunelveli city district women’s wing secretary) and former minister A K Selvaraj being nominated.
Of the six seats in West Bengal, the ruling TMC has fielded three new faces and re-nominated industrialist K D Singh. Bollywood star Mithun Chakraborty will join the company of veteran stars like Rekha and Jaya Bachchan. The party has also fielded painter Jogen Chowdhury and editor of a local Kolkata daily Ahmad Hassan making the contest critical for the sixth seat.
The CPM has fielded SFI general secretary Ritabrata Banerjee as Left Front candidate for the fifth seat. However, the CPM and Congress have come together to sponsor academician Hossainnur Rahman as an independent candidate for the sixth seat.
In Bihar, the JD(U) has fielded all new faces for three seats -- Ramnath Thakur, son of former chief minister and socialist leader Karpoori Thakur; Praveen, former Mayor of Bhagalpur, and Harivansh, the editor-in-chief of Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar. And the BJP has fielded business tycoon R K Sinha from Bihar. Dalit leader and seven-time LS member from Madhya Pradesh, Dr Satyanarayan Jatiya, is all set to enter the House of Elders for the first time.