18 BJP Rajya Sabha MPs including 10 union ministers likely to contest 2024 elections
Nirmala Sitharaman may contest from Madurai, Jaishankar from New Delhi, Piyush Goyal from Chandni Chowk or Pune.
NEW DELHI: The BJP is learnt to have asked at least 18 Rajya Sabha MPs, including 10 Union ministers and some MLAs, to start working to contest the Lok Sabha polls due in 2024. Sources said that Rajya Sabha MPs and ministers in the Narendra Modi cabinet have been asked to work on five Lok Sabha constituencies and select three seats they want to fight on the party ticket.
On Tuesday, the names of some Cabinet ministers and some MPs continued doing the rounds in the media and political circles. It is believed that the party had wider deliberations recently where it decided to field some Union ministers who are Rajya Sabha MPs for the Lok Sabha polls. Their selection was based on their performances and their ability to sway the voters in the 2024 elections.
Though despite many attempts, none of the leaders whose names are doing the rounds could respond to this newspaper, sources in the BJP confirmed that the party has asked them, albeit verbally, at a recent meeting, to get ready to contest the next upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
If sources are to be believed, prominent names of Union ministers doing the rounds include Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, ministers Piyush Goyal, Bhupendra Yadav, Dharmendra Pradhan, Mansukh Mandaviya, Hardeep Puri, S Jaishankar, Purushottam Rupala and others. All of them are completing their second terms in the Rajya Sabha.
The buzz is that Jaishankar may contest the Lok Sabha election from the New Delhi seat while Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan is likely to contest from Odisha, either from Sambalpur or Dhenkanal seats. Rumours have it that Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to contest the Lok Sabha election in 2024 from Madurai and Hardeep Puri, who is also completing his second Rajya Sabha term next year, may jump into the fray from Amritsar or any other Sikh-dominated Lok Sabha seat.
The name of the BJP chief JP Nadda is also doing the rounds. He may contest the Lok Sabha election from the Mandi seat while Piyush Goyal, another Union minister and close confidant of Prime Minister Modi, is likely to contest either from Chandani Chowk or Pune Lok Sabha seat. Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya is also learnt to have been asked to choose an LS seat from Gujarat.
Rajya Sabha MPs whose names are doing the rounds include Dr K Laxman (national president of BJP OBC Morcha), and Sushil Kumar Modi (former deputy CM of Bihar). Dr K Laxman is likely to contest from the Chevella LS seat in Telangana while Sushil Kumar Modi is supposed to contest from the Bhagalpur LS seat.
AP Abdullakutty, ex-MP, could be asked to contest from Lakshadweep while newly inducted Jaiveer Shergill's name is floating as a probable candidate from Anandpur Sahib Ludhiana and Sunil Jakhar from Gurdaspur. The name of the former MP from Odisha Baijayant Jay Panda is also being discussed.
BJP National spokesperson Sambit Patra’s name is also in the air as a likely candidate from Puri in Odisha and DK Aruna, co-in charge of BJP Karnataka from Mehabubnagar.
Many party MLAs such as Raja Singh from Goshamahal in Telangana, Vanathi Srinivasan from Coimbatore MLA (also the national president of BJP Mahila Morcha) and others are also being discussed.