Dalit panel chief is Cong candidate for RS

The Congress has chosen Chairman of National Commission on Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Panna Lal Punia to be its candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday chose Punia, member of the previous Lok Sabha from Barabanki who lost in the 2014 elections, to be the party candidate.

Samajwadi Party, with 221 members in the 403-strong UP Assembly, has offered its 15 additional votes to Congress after ensuring that six of its candidates would be comfortably elected to Rajya Sabha.

With 28 members of its own, Congress is assured of Punia’s election to the Upper House.
Cooperation between SP and Congress are not new. Six years back, the parties joined forces to ensure the election of Mohammad Adeeb, an independent candidate, to Rajya Sabha from UP.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, was also expected to be re-nominated from UP to the Upper House. Azad’s term ended in January.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the main opposition in UP Assembly, can get two of its candidates elected to Rajya Sabha on its own strength, while the BJP with 38 members could ensure one of its nominees elected.

Polls for 10 RS seats from Uttar Pradesh would be held on November 20, since the terms of the current members are coming to an end on November 25. Of those ten, six are from the BSP, two from SP, one from BJP and one independent.

Prominent among the retiring members are former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati's close aide Brijesh Pathak and BJP's Kusum Rai.

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