Jockeying for Rajya Sabha tickets on in Congress

Jockeying for Rajya Sabha tickets on in Congress
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia.

New Delhi: Hectic parleys are on in the Congress ahead of the next round of Rajya Sabha polls as several leaders, both young and old, are keen to get party nomination.

The party is most likely to win altogether at least eight seats from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Karnataka on its own and a couple more with the backing of its allies. However, it is not pinning much hope from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Meghalaya, Assam and Uttar Pradesh where the party is out of power.

The tenure of senior Congress leaders Motilal Vora, Madhusudan Mistry, Kumari Selja, Digvijaya Singh, B K Hariprasad, M V Rajeev Gowda, Raj Babbar, and P L Puniya would end in the coming months.

Younger leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Randeep Singh Surjewala and R P N Singh have all staked claim to the RS seats even as one section of the party is opposing another chance for seniors.

Earlier it was reported that a few leaders are pitching for AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi too as a Rajya Sabha candidate. If she enters the fray it could be from Madhya Pradesh or Chhattisgarh, both Congress-ruled states.

“We don't answer speculative questions,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said after the question was posed to him in this regard at a press conference.

Both Digvijay Singh and Scindia are reportedly eyeing an Upper House berth from their home state, Madhya Pradesh where three seats will fall vacant soon. With the current strength of Congress in the state legislature, the party can easily elect two Rajya Sabha candidates.

State party leaders, including former PCC president Arun Yadav, have demanded that Priyanka Gandhi should be sent to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. However, this is dubbed a ploy by Chief Minister Kamal Nath to block Scindia's entry to the Upper House.

Priyanka, who is in charge of party affairs in Uttar Pradesh, is yet to contest a public election. She has not responded to the reported clamour for her entry to the House of Elders.

Congress is also in a position to send to the Rajya Sabha two of its candidates from the neighbouring Chhattisgarh and the same number from Rajasthan.

Out of the 68 Rajya Sabha seats that will fall vacant soon this year, 19 belong to the Congress.

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