Battlelines were firmed for the crucial March 23 elections to the Rajya Sabha as the deadline for filing nominations expired on Monday evening. At stake are 59 Rajya Sabha seats.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has 58 members, while the National Democratic Alliance as a whole 82 and the Congress 54 in the 245-MP Council of States. Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi has approved the candidature of Akhilesh Pratap Singh and Lekhraj Sahu for the elections.
All India Congress Committee general secretary Oscar Fernandes stated on Monday that while Akhilesh Pratap Singh will contest the polls from Bihar, Lekhraj Sahu will enter the fray from Chhattisgarh.
On Sunday night, the party had announced the names of ten candidates for the biennial elections from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Bengal. In the midst of the fray, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal on Monday joined the BJP, apparently miffed over the denial of the party ticket from Uttar Pradesh.
"Agrawal joins BJP with his team. His contribution will go a long way in strengthening the party," Union Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters at BJP headquarters here.
A UNI report from Bhopal said four ruling BJP and a principal-opposition Congress candidate on Monday filed their nomination papers for the biennial elections BJP leaders Dharmendra Pradhan, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Ajay Pratap Singh and Kailash Soni filed nominations in the Vidhan Sabha premises.
Pradhan and Gehlot are Union ministers while Singh and Soni are BJP office-bearers. Former state minister Rajmani Patel (Congress) filed his nomination in the afternoon.
Nomination process for electing five Rajya Sabha members from Madhya Pradesh commenced on March 5 with the issuance of notification by the Election Commission of India.
Scrutiny would be conducted on March 13 and candidate can give notice of withdrawal by 3 pm on March 15. In case the election is necessary, it would be conducted on March 23 from 0900-1600 hrs. (UNI)