Congress selects local leaders for Rajya Sabha polls

Congress avoids infighting in Gujarat, selects local leaders for Rajya Sabha polls

The Congress party, after much speculation throughout the day, declared senior leaders Shakisinh Gohil and Bharatsinh Solanki as candidates for Rajya Sabha polls slated to be held on March 26 for four seats. If Congress party remains united the two leaders are likely to sail through the polls.

Earlier in the day, when the name of Rajiv Shukla, former Congress parliamentarian, along with Gohil had surfaced, a number of Congress MLAs lodged their protest with the state party president Amit Chavda. Many of the MLAs demanded that no outsider should be allowed to contest from the state. Another group of MLAs demanded that the inclusion of Solanki in place of Shukla.

Minutes after names of Gohil and Solanki were announced officials late on Thursday night, Rajiv Shukla tweeted, "I would like to thank Congress president Sonia Gandhi ji for offering me Rajya sabha nomination from Gujarat but currently I am focusing on organisational work so requested her to nominate some other person in my place." 

"Congress would have become a divided house had Shukla been nominated for the seat. At least two dozen MLAs in the party were not convinced with the party's decision. Some of them lodged their protest in writing," said a Congress leader. As a matter of fact, Congress MLAs had started demanding to nominate leaders from Patidar or Thakor communities.

Congress has 73 MLAs in the 182 seat Gujarat assembly while BJP has 103 seats. The polls will be held for four seats for which each candidate would need 37 votes. The BJP, which declared two candidates- lawyer Abhay Bharadwaj and tribal leader Ramilaben Bara, on Wednesday is speculated to field a third candidate and might poach Congress leaders or win them over for cross-voting. The nominations will be filed on Friday which is also the last day of filing.  

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