Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit may have lost her Assembly seat to Arvind Kejriwal, but the buzz is that the Congress party is trying to get her elected to the Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh.
Sources said the central leadership of the party had indicated to the state Congress unit about fielding Dikshit for the Rajya Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh, which will fall vacant in April at the end of the six-year term of BJP leader Shanta Kumar.
The seat will go to the Congress since the party has a majority in the 68-member state Assembly. The state’s Chief Electoral Officer Narender Chauhan on Tuesday issued a notification for initiating the election process for the Rajya Sabha seat. The last date for filing nominations is January 28.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh parried questions on the choice of candidate for the seat, saying, “It’s the party high command which has to take the call”.
But sources said he personally favours Harsh Mahajan, a former minister and chairman of the HP State Cooperative Bank, or former Speaker Gangu Ram Musafir.
The name of former Rajya Sabha member Viplove Thakur, who belongs to a freedom fighters’ family in Kangra, is also doing the rounds. PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu, who lost the Assembly election in 2012, is also lobbying with senior leaders in Delhi.
After Sheila Dikshit’s name cropped up over the last two days, local leaders are learnt to be upset. They said if the central leadership wants to accommodate national leaders, it should choose bigger states where a larger number of Rajya Sabha seats are likely to fall vacant.