Congress’s deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma filed his nomination papers as the party’s candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Himachal Pradesh, his home state. Earlier in the day, he resigned from the Upper House. Sharma (63) is set to be elected unopposed as opposition BJP, which has 27 MLAs in the 68-member House, is unlikely to field a candidate.
If he does make it from here, it will be Sharma’s fourth term as a Rajya Sabha MP. He will replace Bimla Kashyap Sood of the BJP, whose term will end early next month. The former Union minister is currently a member of the Upper House from Rajasthan. His resignation was accepted on Wednesday morning and thereafter he headed for Himachal Vidhan Sabha to file his papers. Forty sitting MLAs, 36 from the Congress and four Independents, were listed as proposers for his candidature in the nomination papers filed before the secretary, Vidhan Sabha, the returning officer for the election.
Flanked by CM Virbhadra Singh, PCC president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu among others Sharma said, “It’s a great honour to represent Himachal for the third time. I am thankful to Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her trust and faith in me.” He said he would take up issues pertaining to Himachal. “Himachal should be treated at par with Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir for reduced air tariffs and regular connectivity. I will also raise the issue of expansion of railway network with the NDA government.”
The BJP may not field a candidate. “We know our number in the House. It won’t provide a challenge to Congress,” state BJP president Satpal Satti said.