Gandhinagar, March 12 (IANS) The opposition Congress had some anxious moments after former Union Minister Naransinh Rathwa and party spokesperson Amee Yagnik on Monday filed their nominations as its candidates for two of the four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat.
The opposition party is backing independent candidate P.K. Valera, a former bureaucrat, who threw his hat in the ring at the last minute due to technical hitches with Rathwa’s candidature.
Indian Premier League Chairman and Congress leader Rajeev Shukla, party sources said in Delhi, was ready at the eleventh hour to fly to Gandhinagar in a chartered flight to ensure the Congress did not lose a sure seat if Rathwa’s papers were rejected.
But the airport authorities refused permission since re-carpeting was in progress.
However, Rathwa managed to show evidence about his valid vote in his hometown Chhotaudepur.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded three candidates, including two sitting Rajya Sabha members.
Besides Union Minister of State Parshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia, the ruling BJP has fielded senior leader Kiritsinh Rana, stating there could be cross-voting due to Valera’s nomination as a third candidate backed by the Congress.
All four seats are currently represented by the BJP, including one by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has been moved to Uttar Pradesh since the party does not have adequate numbers to win all four seats this time.
With 99 MLAs in a 182-member Assembly, the BJP can easily win two seats.
The Congress with 77 legislators, besides the four Independents and one Bharatiya Tribal Party member, also has the numbers this time to send two members to the Upper House.