THE Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to nominate Union Minister for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal and Union Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu from Maharashtra for the Rajya Sabha, elections for which are due on June 11.
The state BJP can get three candidates elected to the Upper House. The party is still weighing its pros and cons on the third candidate as there are many aspirants in the race.
The elections for six Rajya Sabha seats were necessitated following vacancies with previous candidates’ tenure coming to an end. In the Maharashtra Legislative Council, polls will he held for 10 seats. “Out of the six seats, we can claim three. Since Goyal and Prabhu are already Union cabinet ministers, we are giving them highest preference,” a BJP leader said.
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It is mandatory for a minister to be a member of Parliament.
While the Maharashtra BJP had Goyal to the Rajya Sabha in 2010, Prabhu was made a Rajya Sabha MP from Haryana in 2014 through a bypoll for his induction into the Narendra Modi government to take charge of the railway portfolio.
The Shiv Sena, which has claim on one seat, has nominated Sanjay Raut. The editor of party mouthpiece Saamana has already enjoyed two terms in the Upper House in the past.
The Congress and the NCP will nominate one candidate each.
The NCP is likely to repeat Praful Patel, while the Congress, sources indicated, was considering nominating Milind Deora, sitting MP Vijay Darda is a contender too.
The six candidates from Maharashtra whose tenure has come to an end are Raut (Shiv Sena), Ishwarlal Jain and Praful patel (NCP), Vijay Darda and Avinash Pande (Congress) and Piyush Goyal (BJP).
The Rajya Sabha will have biennial elections for 57 seats as 55 members from 15 states are completing their tenure between June and August 2016. Two seats have been vacated by Anand Sharma of the Congress and industrialist Vijay Mallya (Independent) who have recently resigned.