Updated: September 12, 2021 9:16:03 am
A clutch of Congress leaders has begun lobbying for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Maharashtra, the election for which is scheduled on October 4. The seat had fallen vacant following the death of Congress Rajya Sabha MP Rajiv Satav.
Among those vying for the seat include Prithviraj Chavan and Mukul Wasnik. The names of Ghulam Nabi Azad, Rajiv Shukla, Sanjay Nirupam are also being discussed. Also, in the race is Pradnya Satav, wife of the late Congress leader Rajiv Satav. Anant Gadgil, son of late Congress leader and former Union Minister Vithalrao Gadgil, has also laid claim to the seat.
Though Prithviraj Chavan is considered as the strong claimant among all, Congress leaders said Wasnik, owing to his proximity to the Congress leadership in Delhi, and Pradnya Satav, who is close to the Gandhi family, are also strong contenders for the seat.
A section of Congress leaders in Maharashtra have already sent a letter to the Congress leadership, urging it to consider Prithviraj Chavan either for Rajya Sabha seat or as the Speaker of the state legislature. “In view of his experience, both in the state as chief minister and as a central minister and his leadership which is acceptable to all sections of the party, Chavan remains ahead in the race. Unlike other leaders in the party, Chavan has been ripping apart Modi government’s faulty policies with facts and figures in his lectures, speeches and press conferences across the state. He is the only Congress leader in the state to do so. Others are rarely heard,” said a close associate of Chavan, who is among those who has sent the letter to the party leadership.
Chavan has, however, refused to comment. His close aides said the former chief minister has already discussed the issue with party president Sonia Gandhi. “She has promised to do justice to his standing in the party,” an aide said.
When approached for comment, Pradnya Satav said, “I am a Gandhi family member. Whatever the responsibility the party gives me, I am ready to take up the challenge.” Congress leaders did not rule out the possibility of Rahul Gandhi springing a surprise and backing Satav.
Anant Gadgil, whose father Vithalrao Gadgil and grandfather Kakasaheb Gadgil were prominent members of the Congress, said, “I have been waiting for justice from the party which my father and grandfather served diligently and devoted their entire life to since 2004. My father died 20 years back and the family has been sidelined by the party since. I was not even considered twice for the Pune Lok Sabha seat which the party lost badly after picking the wrong candidate. I have been waiting silently for years for the party to do justice to me and my family which has steadfastly remained loyal to the Congress.”
Party’s national secretary Prithviraj Sathe said, “The notification for the Rajya Sabha has just been issued. This week, the Ganpati festivities have started. The party will discuss the nominations next week.” Sathe said there are several leaders in the race. “Their names are being speculated in the media…,”
A Congress leader said the party will consider three-four names before finalising one. “The possibility of Azad getting a nod from Tamil Nadu cannot be ruled out. So he may not be the claimant from Maharashtra,” the leader said.