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Chandra to contest from Raj as Independent backed by BJP

Chandra to contest from Raj as Independent backed by BJP

Jaipur: Backed by the BJP, media baron Subhash Chandra filed his nomination for the elections to the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, a move that could scuttle the Congress chances of winning the third seat from Rajasthan.

The other candidates who filed their papers from the state on Tuesday are Congress leaders Mukul Wasnik, Pramod Tiwari and Randeep Singh Surjewala, and BJP's Ghanshyam Tiwari.

Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra is currently a Rajya Sabha member from Haryana and his term is going to expire on August 1.

The filing of papers by him as an Independent prompted Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to allege that the BJP wants to indulge in horse-trading.

The ruling Congress in Rajasthan with its 108 MLAs in the state Assembly is set to win two of the four seats going to the elections on June 10.

After winning two seats, Congress will have 26 surplus votes, 15 short of the required 41 to win the third seat. On the other hand, the BJP has 71 MLAs in the state Assembly and is set to win one seat, after which it will be left with 30 surplus votes.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot termed the filing of papers by Chandra as a "game" by the BJP, alleging that the party wants to indulge in horse-trading as it does not have the required numbers.

"We are going to win three seats. I don't know why the BJP has played the game," Gehlot said.

"They did the same 15 years ago but had to announce the withdrawal of support at 12 at night. They said that the candidate had promised them that he had extra votes but he could not arrange," he told reporters outside the Assembly building after the Congress candidates filed their nominations.

"This time also, Subhash Chandra has been fielded despite knowing that they do not have votes. Will they be doing horse-trading? From where will they bring votes? They want to indulge in horse-trading. This is not a good tradition," he added.

Congress candidate Randeep Surjewala claimed that his party has a total of 126 MLAs by its side, which included 108 MLAs of the party.

BJP leaders have also expressed confidence in winning the second seat and appealed to Independents and MLAs of other parties to vote for Chandra.

"We are supporting Chandra as he is from Rajasthan and I am confident that he will win the seat," Poonia said.

Earlier, Subhash Chandra said he will get more than the required votes. He also expressed gratitude to the BJP for supporting him.

Chandra said that he belongs to Fatehpur-Shekhawati in Rajasthan and will raise his voice for the people of the state in the Upper House of Parliament.

Till now, six candidates have filed papers for the June 10 elections.

Apart from the five who filed their papers on Tuesday, Independent candidate Manoj Kumar Joshi filed his nomination on Monday.

Now, scrutiny of papers will be done on June 1 and nomination can be withdrawn by 3 pm on June 3.

The polling will be held on June 10 from 9 am to 4 pm and the counting will take place on the same day from 5 pm.

In the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly, the Congress has 108 MLAs, BJP 71, Independents 13, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP) three, CPI(M) and Bharatiya Tribal Party (BTP) two each and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) 1.

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