The leaders who failed to get into the list of Rajya Sabha candidates from the Congress, the BJP and the JD(U) tells a story of falling out of favour of top leadership and subsequent entry of younger lot, leaving their political career in limbo.
If senior leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, who raised a rebellion against the way the party leadership was functioning, was not considered for a seat, the most intriguing move came from the BJP when Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi could not find his name in the list despite being a Union Minister. Similarly, JD(U) refused renomination to Minister RCP Singh.
A renomination is required for both in next six months, if they continue in the Narendra Modi Cabinet but the signals sent by BJP and JD(U) leadership do not inspire confidence for them.
BJP leaders are tightlipped about the possible reasons for the non-inclusion of Naqvi, who was elevated as Rajya Sabha Deputy Leader, as they say only the top few know the real reasons behind the decision.
Singh had fallen out of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s good books as he joined the Modi cabinet despite the party’s reservations about taking the assignment after its claim for more Cabinet berths was denied.
It was rumoured that Singh, who is considered close to the BJP, unilaterally took the decision as its national president. It is to be seen whether the BJP will accommodate Singh like it did with Suresh Prabhu, who was earlier associated with Shiv Sena but there were no immediate signals in this regard.
The other prominent omission form the BJP includes Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
In the Congress, all eyes were on Azad and Sharma and there was speculation about their renomination after party chief Sonia Gandhi held discussions with the change-seekers or G-23 leaders. They were also included in prominent committees for the Udaipur ‘Chintan Shivir’ and seated next to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi at Udaipur. Both leaders were also included in the recently set up Political Affairs Committee to advise Sonia.
However, these signals did not lead to a renomination for Azad, who was Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha till February 2021, or Sharma, the party’s Deputy Leader in the Upper House till last month.
For Azad, the doors of the leadership have been closed though he continues to be a Congress Working Committee member. It is to be seen what would be his next course of action though there were earlier speculation that he may float a regional outfit in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of Assembly elections there.
Congress has been unhappy with Azad for some time, especially after he led 22 other leaders to raise questions about leadership issues in the party. It was accentuated after he received Padma Bhushan this year. Though the leadership did not officially ask him to reject it, a section had a feeling that Azad should have taken such a step.
Sharma, who was expecting a renomination, is also disappointed at the development, as he stands no chance to play a prominent role in Himachal Pradesh where Assembly elections are due.
While the old guards have been eased out, the selection of candidates have given clear indication about the emergence of new leaders. However, this has also not gone well among the loyalists with a prominent spokesperson Pawan Khera sending a cryptic tweet after he was ignored though he later congratulated all candidates. Similarly, actor-turned-politician Nagma also came out in public about being ignored.