In the elections to be held for four Rajya Sabha seats in Rajasthan, the BJP has so far fielded only one candidate, Ghanshyam Tiwari, a known Vasundhara Raje bete noire, while the Congress has brought all three candidates from outside the state.
BJP’s candidate Tiwari is a 6-time MLA and during the second tenure of former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, he openly rebelled against her many times. In fact, he left the party during the 2018 Assembly polls and formed his own party. Also, for a short period, he joined hands with the Congress too, but then made a homecoming on the persuasion of the BJP leaders. Tiwari has been known for his anti-Raje stand and comes from RSS background with over 45 years of experience in politics. It is expected that the BJP can bet on another independent candidate.
Tiwari speaking to the media said, “I express my gratitude to the central leadership of the party. I am indebted and grateful to it for choosing me for the job. I also express my gratitude to the state leadership of the party.”
When asked if his selection was a direct message for the Vasundhara camp, he said, “I had joined the BJP after forgetting everything. For me all are equal. I will work together with everyone.”
Meanwhile, the Congress has declared Randeep Singh Surjewala, Mukul Wasnik and Pramod Tiwari as its candidates. Surprisingly, the Congress did not give the Rajya Sabha ticket to any leader from Rajasthan.
Wasnik and Surjewala are considered close to Gehlot. While Wasnik was in-charge of the Rajasthan Congress for a long time, Surjewala is the National General Secretary as well as the head of the Congress Communication Department. Pramod Tiwari, a 9-time MLA from the Rampur seat of Uttar Pradesh, had got his daughter to contest the Assembly polls in his place.
The Congress already has three MPs in the Rajya Sabha and a victory on three seats is almost certain. Now there will be six Congress MPs in the Rajya Sabha, but only one candidate, — Neeraj Dangi — comes from Rajasthan, rest are outsiders. Earlier, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress’ National Organisation General Secretary K.C. Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi were the Congress Rajya Sabha MPs.
However, there are voices of dissent erupting from the Congress after the local leaders were not given a chance in the Rajya Sabha.
Advisor to the Chief Minister, Sanyam Lodha in his tweet raised questions, “The Congress party should tell what is the reason for not making any Congress leader/worker from Rajasthan a candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections?” He tagged all the senior leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and INC India and INC Rajasthan.
Lodha also hashtagged ‘Congress Navsankalp’, which was the tagline for the party’s ‘Chintan Shivir’ held in Udaipur recently.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot congratulated all three candidates and said, “Congratulations and best wishes to Mr. Mukul Wasnik, Mr. Pramod Tiwari and Mr. Randeep Singh Surjewala for being nominated by Congress for Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan. Three senior leaders from Rajasthan have been elected by the party to the Rajya Sabha.
“I am confident that the three senior leaders will raise the voice of Rajasthan’s rights at the national level against the NDA government sitting in power and on the Central Government on other issues, including East Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP), Dedicated Freight Corridor, stalled rail projects. Will put pressure. The people of the state will get the benefit of their experience and seniority at the national level,” he said in his tweets (in Hindi).
The nomination process for the elections started from May 24 and the last date is May 31. According to the current equations, the Congress is sure to win three seats while the BJP will capture one in accordance with the strength of the two parties in the Assembly.