RAIPUR: A straight contest is in the offing between the BJP and the Congress for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Chhattisgarh as the candidates of both the parties stayed put today, which was the last day for withdrawal of nominations.
The election for the single seat that has fallen vacant due to the expiry of the term of Bhushan Lal Jangde (BJP) will be held on March 23.
The candidates in the fray are BJP national general secretary Saroj Pandey and the Congress' Lekhram Sahu.
"Pandey and Sahu did not withdraw from the race on the last date of withdrawal of nominations," state Assembly Secretary Chandra Shekhar Gangrade, who is also the election officer, told PTI.
Gangrade added that he had rejected the Congress' demand to quash Pandey's nomination.
The Congress had demanded that Pandey's papers be rejected as the MLAs of the ruling BJP, who are parliamentary secretaries, were among her proposers.
It had also contended that the final decision regarding the appointment of these MLAs as parliamentary secretaries was pending before the High Court.
In a letter to Gangrade, the Congress had cited the disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs in Delhi in January by the president, on the Election Commission's recommendation, for being parliamentary secretaries, which is considered as holding offices of profit.
"Till the high court verdict comes, they should not be considered as proposers and the nomination papers of the BJP candidate should be rejected," the opposition party had stated.
The BJP is in a position to send one member to the Rajya Sabha from the state as each candidates needs to secure 46 votes.
In the 90-member Assembly, the BJP has 49 MLAs, the Congress 39, the BSP one, besides an Independent legislator.