The BJP on Monday named six more candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections, scheduled for June 11. The second list, finalised at a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah on Monday, includes Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, party spokesperson M J Akbar and BJP’s national vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
While Prabhu is to be elected from Andhra Pradesh, Akbar is set to be sent to the Upper House from Madhya Pradesh. Party sources said BJP was also considering nominating party general secretary Anil Jain from Madhya Pradesh. Sahasrabuddhe and Vikas Mahatme have been nominated from Maharashtra.
From Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has nominated Shiv Pratap Shukla, vice-president of its state unit, for the Upper House. Shukla, a former state minister and a Brahmin, has been chosen to replace Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is BJP’s nominee from Jharkhand this time. The BJP has 42 MLAs in Uttar Pradesh, and Shukla is likely to sail through, given that 34 votes are required to elect each Rajya Sabha member.
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The party has named Mahesh Poddar as its second candidate for Jharkhand. The BJP has 47 votes in the Jharkhand Assembly. It would need 28 votes to secure one seat and still have 19 votes left. Party sources said they had fielded the second candidate hoping for a win.
From Maharashtra, the party has nominated leading ophthalmologist Vikas Mahatme. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is learnt to have advised the Centre to nominate Mahatme, who is from the backward Dhangar (shepherd) community, which is demanding reservation.
BJP sources said the party may back Zee group owner Subhash Chandra, who is likely to contest from Haryana as an Independent. The party has already nominated Union minister Chaudhary Birender Singh from Haryana, where two Upper House seats fell vacant.
(With inputs from ENS Lucknow, Ranchi, Mumbai)