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RS polls: Congress trying to strike experience-youth balance

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) With less than 20 days to go for Rajya Sabha biennial elections this year, the Congress is all set to attempt to strike a balance between experience and youth to select candidates for 55 seats in 17 states, party leaders said on Saturday.

The elections to the 55 vacant seats will take place on March 26.

Seven seats will go to polls in Maharashtra, six in Tamil Nadu, five each in West Bengal and Bihar, four each in Odisha, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, three each in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Assam, two each in Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Jharkhand and one each in Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya.

A senior Congress functionary said that the party was trying to follow a balanced approach in selecting its candidates this year.

Experienced and young leaders would be given preference, also taking into consideration different caste equations.

Asked about its prospective candidate from Haryana, he said: “Three names are under consideration — former Union Minister Kumari Selja, who is state unit chief; party national media incharge Randeep Singh Surjewala and former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s son Deepender Singh Hooda who is a former MP from Rohtak.”

The Congress leader said that Selja was in the contention as she is close to party interim chief Sonia Gandhi and is also the party’s Dalit face from the northern state. She also led the party to a spectacular performance in the last year’s Assembly polls as the Congress won 31 seats.

Surjewala is the choice of Rahul Gandhi,” he said.

On Deepender Hooda’s name, he said: “As he lost his Rohtak Lok Sabha seat in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the party wants to use his experience in the Upper House.”

Altogether, the term of 51 Rajya Sabha members ends next month, apart from four vacancies. The grand old party holds 46 seats in the Upper House but is likely to retain only 13 seats.

The Congress is going to get two seats each in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, while one each in Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra.

The party is eyeing one seat each in West Bengal, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu with the help of allies and another seat in Maharashtra.

The party will draw a blank in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya. The current strength of the UPA is 62 while NDA is 114 in the Rajya Sabha.



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