BJP in fix to accommodate ‘retiring’ ministers
With two union ministers – Nirmala Sitharaman and M Venkaiah Naidu – set to retire in quick succession in coming June, the BJP leadership is in a quandary to arrange for their re-entry into the Rajya Sabha.
In all six of the 21 members retiring in June from the Upper House belong to the BJP.
The leadership’s challenge is to accommodate the two ministers as their previous entry to the House was not through “natural” political process.
While Naidu, who belongs to Andhra Pradesh, made an entry from Karnataka, Sitharaman came from undivided Andhra Pradesh with the help of the allies as the BJP did not have requisite numbers.
The four BJP members retiring from the “clear” party seats are Anil Madhav Dave and Chandan Mitra (Madhya Pradesh), Nand Kumar Sai (Chhattisgarh) and A Manjunatha from Karnataka.
Since the 2010 biennial polls, the number of BJP votes in Karanataka has gone down after losing the state assembly polls. Thus party can nominate only one of two retiring members. In that situation Naidu may have to be shifted out.
Sources in the party said that there was a possibility of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), agreeing to accommodate him on one spare seat. In Andhra Pradesh and there are going to be four vacancies. Of these there are two sure seats for the TDP and one for the YSR Congress. For the fourth seat while TDP/BJP has 19 spare votes, YSR Congress has 24 spare votes. For this seat, given Venkaiah’s clout across party lines, the NDA may bring YSR Congress around to have him as a consensus candidate.
In Telangana, there are going to be two vacancies and both should go to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Sangha (TRS). That leaves Sitharaman’s entry either from Madhya Pradesh, where both the sitting MPs – Anil Madhav Dave and Dr Chandan Mitra – are prominent party functionaries. The third vacancy from Madhya Pradesh would go to the Congress.