The Congress party on Sunday declared the names of Naran Rathwa and Amee Yajnik as the party’s candidates for two Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat. An official release from All India Congress Committee said that the two names were approved by party president Rahul Gandhi. Rathwa, from Chhota Udepur, is a former Minister of State for Railways in the UPA-I government and belongs to the tribal community. In 2014, he had lost the Lok Sabha election from Chhota Udepur constituency.
Yajnik, on the other hand, is party spokesperson and lawyer practising at the Gujarat High Court. She is one of the party’s prominent women leaders in Gujarat. The term of four seats of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat are coming to end on April 2 next month and the Election Commission of India (ECI) has declared election for the four seats later this month on March 23.
All four seats are currently being occupied by BJP candidates – Arun Jaitley, Parshottam Rupala, Mansukh Mandaviya and Shankar Vegad. Three of these – Jaitley, Rupala and Mandaviya – are ministers in the Narendra Modi cabinet. However, following the increased number of Congress MLAs in the Assembly elections last year, the situation has arisen wherein both BJP and Congress can have two members each elected to the Upper House of the Parliament.
The BJP has already declared that Jaitley will contest the RS elections from Uttar Pradesh. At the same time, it has named Mandaviya and Rupala to contest the RS elections from Gujarat. As per the arithmetic of the Rajya Sabha election rules, each contesting candidate will have to gain at least 37 votes from among Gujarat MLAs. Congress has 77 seats in the Assembly and the BJP has 99. So, both Congress and BJP can get two members elected on their current strength in the Assembly. And both parties will have some surplus members. The last date for filing nominations is March 12.