Maharashtra readies for Rajya Sabha race


Mumbai : The heat and dust of the Mumbai municipal corporation elections has barely subsided and the stage is already set for the March 30 biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha, including six seats from Maharashtra.

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According to the Election Commission of India, the notification will be issued March 12 for 58 Rajya Sabha members retiring across 15 states, including six from Maharashtra who are hoping to be re-nominated.

They include union Minister for Science and Technology Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla – both from the Congress.

The Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) representatives are Govindrao Adik and Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil, besides the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Bal Apte and Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi.

Though all the parties have yet to announce their respective candidates, it is expected that the Congress and Shiv Sena-BJP may accommodate their new Dalit allies with an eye on the 2014 state assembly elections.

The Bharatiya Republican Party-Bahujan Mahasangh’s Prakash Ambedkar, allied with the Congress and the Republican Party of India’s Ramdas Athawale, part of the saffron combine, are likely to be considered for representation by their respective partners.

In other states, some prominent members due to retire include: BJP’s Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley (Gujarat), Ravi Shankar Prasad (Bihar), Hema Malini (Karnataka), Kalraj Mishra, Vinay Katiyar (both Uttar Pradesh), Congress’ Raashid Alvi (Andhra Pradesh) and Rajya Sabha deputy chairman K. Rahman Khan (Karnataka), Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi (Rajasthan), BSP’s Naresh Chandra Aggarwal (Uttar Pradesh) and union minister Mukul Roy of Trinamool Congress (West Bengal), and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Rajniti Prasad (Bihar).