Rajya Sabha elections 2018: Congress’ impressive performance in last year’s Gujarat Assembly Elections has resulted in a dilemma for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Due to decreased tally, the BJP will now be able to send only two MPs to the Upper House in the upcoming polls. While the other two seats from the state are likely to be won by Rahul Gandhi-led Congress.
Terms of four BJP MPs – Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, MoS Agriculture Parshottam Rupala, MoS Chemicals Mansukh Mandaviya, and Shankar Vegad will end in March. The three ministers are likely to be re-elected, with one getting shifted to some other state. However, there’s a dilemma over Shankar Vegad’s re-election. On the other hand, Congress is likely to send state president Bharatsinh Solanki and at least one more leader from outside the state to the assembly.
Despite decreased numbers in Gujarat, BJP is hopeful of a working majority in the Rajya Sabha polls next month. NDA’s numbers are expected to go up significantly as the Upper House will see biennial polls to 58 seats from 16 states. The BJP is set to make big gains from Uttar Pradesh, where its massive majority in the assembly will fetch at least eight out of 10 seats. Also, the saffron party will make big gains from Rajasthan where it enjoys two-third majority in Assembly. Apart from Gujarat, NDA numbers are also expected to fall in Bihar, where it holds all six seats going to the poll and is certain of winning only three. The saffron party is yet to decide on its nominees. However, it is expected that some of its national office-bearers may enter the House.
Interestingly, none of BJP’s eight general secretaries, except Bhupender Yadav, is an MP. Other general secretaries, who are being seen as the contenders, include heavyweights like Anil Jain, Arun Singh, Kailash Vijayvargiya, P Muralidhar Rao and Ram Madhav.
Terms of BJP heavyweights including Arun Jaitley, J P Nadda Prakash Javadekar, RS Prasad, TC Gehlot, Dharmendra Pradhan, are ending. The ruling NDA alliance is likely to get these leaders re-nominated for another term.