Nirmala replaces Venkaiah as state RS nominee

Nirmala replaces Venkaiah as state RS nominee

The BJP on Sunday nominated Minister of State, Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman from Karnataka for the Rajya Sabha elections. The elections are slated for June 11.

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, the party’s initial choice from Karnataka, will now contest from Rajasthan. Naidu had represented Karnataka for three terms in the Upper House.  There were frequent protests from various quarters regarding fielding Naidu from the state as he is seen as an outsider. Even the opposition parties questioned the saffron party’s decision to favour Naidu, a native of Andhra Pradesh. A social media campaign also questioned Naidu’s contribution to the state.    

However, party sources said this ‘insider-outsider’ factor might not have prompted the BJP to change its decision because even Nirmala is not from Karnataka. She hails from Tamil Nadu and is married to a native of Andhra Pradesh. Presently, she is a Rajya Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh. 

Another speculation doing the rounds is that the seat from Karnataka may not be a safe bet for Naidu because he needs support from 45 MLAs to secure a victory.

The BJP has just that, so it is dependant on two KJP MLAs to be on the safer side.Nirmala is expected to file her papers on Tuesday, the last day to file nominations.

Her candidature from Karnataka also indicates the unease in the ties BJP shares with ally TDP in Andhra Pradesh. The alliance is witnessing turbulence over the promises made to Andhra Pradesh before the bifurcation. 

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