BJP fields Prabhu from AP, Akbar from MP, RJD's Misa Bharti files papers

BJP fields Prabhu from AP, Akbar from MP, RJD's Misa Bharti files papers

BJP fields Prabhu from AP, Akbar from MP, RJD's Misa Bharti files papers

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and noted journalist M J Akbar figured in BJP's second list of six candidates today for the Rajya Sabha biennial polls with the two being fielded from Andhra Pradesh, where ally TDP has assured its support, and Madhya Pradesh respectively.

With one day left for filing of nominations for the polls, the announcement was made by the BJP even as Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, noted lawyer Ram Jethmalani and RJD chief Lalu Prasad's daughter Misa Bharti were among several candidates from different parties who today submitted their papers.

BJP vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, who heads a think tank affiliated to the party and is also in-charge of its affairs in MP, and Vikas Mahatme were nominated from Maharashtra while Shiv Pratap Shukla will contest from Uttar Pradesh and Mahesh Poddar from Jharkhand. It had yesterday released the first list of 12 candidates.

Elections for 57 seats in the Upper House from 15 states are due to be held on June 11.

BJP's general secretary Ram Madhav, whose name was doing the rounds as a contender, is not among the six candidates with sources saying he is likely to get a bigger responsibility in the organisation following a rejig expected soon.

Interestingly, the names of 12 candidates recommended by the BJP election committee in MP to the Central Election Committee for two Rajya Sabha seats did not have Akbar's name However, the veteran scribe pipped them all.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) nominated party chief Shibu Soren's younger son Basant Soren as its candidate from the mineral-rich state.

Shukla is a senior party leader from UP where the party wanted to field a Brahmin face, a key support base of BJP, ahead of the assembly polls next year. Poddar is a senior party leader from Jharkhand.

Madhav, who played an important role in BJP's win in Assam and earlier in Jammu and Kashmir, had said in a tweet yesterday that he would not be a candidate from AP, as speculated.

A senior party functionary said Madhav had opted out of the Rajya Sabha candidacy.

Another general secretary Anil Jain was also a contender from a seat from MP but Akbar, who represents Jharkhand in the Upper House, was preferred.

Prabhu currently represents Haryana in the Upper House but was shifted to AP after ally TDP accepted its request.

While 14 BJP members are retiring, its increased strength in states like Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand is likely to help all its 18 candidates sail through.

The other prominent candidates who filed their papers included Union Ministers Birender Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and senior Congress leader Ambika Sonia.

Naidu, the Minister for Urban development and Parliamentary Affairs, BJP national vice president Om Prakash Mathur, Ramkumar Verma and Harsh Vardhan Singh were the four party candidates who submitted their papers from Rajasthan.

Verma and Vardhan are the new faces for elections to the Upper House from the desert state.

Vardhan is the grandson of former speaker of Rajasthan Assembly Laxman Singh and has links with erstwhile royal family of Dungarpur while Verma is a retired RBI official and engaged in social work.

Jethmalani, a former BJP MP, and Misa Bharti filed their papers as candidates of ruling alliance in Bihar where JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav also entered the fray today.

Along with Yadav, Ramchandra Prasad Singh also entered the fray on JD(U) ticket. Jethmalani, who was the law minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government, and Bharti filed their papers as RJD candidates.

"All the candidates of alliance will definitely win," Lalu Prasad told reporters in Patna.

In Chandigarh, Rural Development Minister Birender Singh filed his nomination papers from Haryana while Soni, a Congress General Secretary, did so from Punjab.

Naqvi, Union Minister of State for Minority and Parliamentary Affairs, filed his papers from Jharkhand.

Three senior leaders of ruling BJD -- Prasanna Acharya, Bishnu Das and N Bhaskar Rao--filed their papers in Odisha.

Scrutiny of nominations will take place on June 1 and the last date for withdrawal is June 3.

In Karnataka, three Congress candidates including former Union ministers Jairam Ramesh and Oscar Fernandes filed their papers in Bengaluru.

Former IPS officer K C Ramamurthy (Congress) and B M Farooq (JDS) also submitted their papers.

In Uttar Pradesh, former union minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal submitted his papers in Lucknow.

The elections were necessitated as 55 members from 15 states are retiring between June and August. One seat each from Rajasthan and Karnataka vacated by Anand Sharma (Congress) and Vijay Mallya (Independent) respectively will also go to polls.

Out of the total 57 seats, a majority of 14 each belong to BJP and Congress. While six members belong to BSP, five are from JD (U), three each from SP, BJD and AIADMK.

Two members each belong to DMK, NCP and TDP, while one member belongs to Shiv Sena. Mallya was an Independent member who resigned on May 5.

While a maximum of 11 members are retiring from Uttar Pradesh, six seats each will go to polls from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

From Bihar, five seats will go to polls, four each from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan, three each from Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, two each are from Haryana, Jharkhand, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Telangana. One seat from Uttarakhand will also go for poll.