The Congress party has been left out in the cold after its Tamil Nadu ally the DMK decided to field candidates for the two Rajya Sabha seats, the elections to which are scheduled for October 4. The Election Commission has announced the schedule for bypolls in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bengal and Madhya Pradesh while the term-end election will be held for one Rajya Sabha seat in Puducherry. Of these states, the Congress is in power through an alliance in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu only. The party had pinned its hopes on Tamil Nadu to send some of its leaders to the upper house as three seats fell vacant in the southern state in the recent months.
The EC had first announced the date for a bypoll to one seat in Tamil Nadu in August. The DMK was supposed to leave that seat for Congress, but the ruling DMK fielded M M Abdullah as its candidate who was elected unopposed. Then the ECI announced dates for bypolls to two more Rajya Sabha seats and the Congress was expecting DMK to leave at least one for them, but the DMK has again fielded its candidate on both the seats. The DMK has named Kanimozhi NVN Somu and K R N Rajeshkumar for the two seats. Now, the Congress is left with one seat (Maharashtra) and many aspirants, leaving the grand old party in a spot.
According to a report by news channel Aaj Tak, around six Congress leaders are vying for the Tamil Nadu Rajya Sabha seat. The G-23 dissenter leaders of Congress wanted the party to field Ghulam Nabi Azad from Tamil Nadu, but that does not look feasible now. The party was also considering the name of its data analytics team chairperson Praveen Chakravarty.
With the DMK virtually showing Congress the door, the grand old party has now turned its focus to Maharashtra. The seat had fallen vacant following the death of Rajeev Satav and the party is hopeful of retaining the seat. Among the contenders are Prithviraj Chavan, Mukul Wasnik, Rajiv Shukla, Sanjay Nirupam as well as Ghulam Nabi Azad. Wife of the late Rajiv Satav – Pradnya Satav is also said to be on the list besides Anant Gadgil, son of former Union Minister Vithalrao Gadgil.