Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi (File|AFP)

Sonia, Nadda among 41 MPs elected unopposed to RS

The 77-year-old is currently serving her fifth term in the Lower House, representing Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli constituency.

NEW DELHI: As the deadline for the withdrawal of candidature for Rajya Sabha elections ended on Tuesday, 41 leaders including Sonia Gandhi, BJP chief JP Nadda and Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw were elected unopposed to the Upper House. The biennial elections are scheduled on February 27 in 56 seats across 15 states.

However, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka will see a high-pitched contest with the BJP and JD(S) fielding an extra candidate. The ruling BJP had nominated Nadda and three other candidates, including a prominent diamond merchant, for Rajya Sabha. They have been elected unopposed from Gujarat.

Nadda was earlier been elected to the Upper House for a second term from his home state Himachal Pradesh but this time, BJP had to ensure his election from Gujarat because of the party’s insufficient strength in Himachal.

Three other candidates, who have been elected unopposed from Gujarat are diamond baron Govindbhai Dholakia, BJP leaders Jasvantsinh Parmar and Mayank Nayak. In the same way, Congress nominated Sonia Gandhi from Rajasthan. With her debut in the House, Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sonia Gandhi will be bidding adieu to her 25-year-long stint in the Lok Sabha. Sonia will be succeeding former PM Manmohan Singh, who is set to retire from the House in April this year. She won the seat from Rajasthan as no other candidate fought the election.

The 77-year-old is currently serving her fifth term in the Lower House, representing Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli constituency. In a letter to voters in Rae Bareli last week, Sonia had said that she would not contest the upcoming LS polls because of her age and health concerns. The move also sparked speculation of her daughter and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s LS debut from the family bastion.

Apart from Sonia, BJP’s Chunnilal Garasiya and Madan Rathore were also elected unopposed to RS from Rajasthan. The members who won unopposed to the RS include TMC’s Sagarika Ghose, Sushmita Dev, Mamata Bala Thakur and Nadimul Haque.

Meanwhile, UP is set to witness a tough contest with 11 people competing for 10 seats. In Karnataka, five contestants will be locking horns for four seats. In Himachal, the fight will be for its sole seat.

Two BJD candidates, Debashish Samantray and Subhashish Khuntia, were also elected unopposed from Odisha. BJD had backed Vaishnaw in the polls.

BJP spokesperson L Murugan was elected unopposed from Madhya Pradesh, along with four others. One Congress candidate also had a free run from the state. BJP’s new entrant Ashok Chavan, former MLA Medha Kulkarni and RSS worker Ajit Gopchade were elected without contest from Maharashtra.

The New Indian Express