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BJP announces 14 names for RS polls, relies on new faces

BJP announces 14 names for RS polls, relies on new faces

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Sunday named 14 candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls, including former Union minister R P N Singh and Sudhanshu Trivedi, the only outgoing MP renominated by the party.

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, representing Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha, and BJP chief spokesperson and media head Anil Baluni, the outgoing MP from Uttarakhand, have been replaced with fresh faces, indicating their potential candidacy in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Among the new candidates are Narayansa K Bhandage from Karnataka and Devendra Pratap Singh from Chhattisgarh, individuals relatively unknown but recognised for their dedicated service to the party, a quality esteemed by the current BJP leadership. Singh, hailing from the erstwhile Gond royal family, replaces Saroj Pandey.

Besides RPN Singh and Trivedi, other nominees for the Rajya Sabha from UP are: Chudhary Tejveer Singh, Sadhana Singh, Amarpal Maurya, Sangeeta Balwant and Naveen Jain. The state has the highest number of vacancies of 10 seats.

With the exception of Trivedi, none of the nine outgoing BJP MPs from Uttar Pradesh, including Anil Jain, Anil Agrawal, and G V L Narasimha Rao, were renominated.

RPN Singh, belonging to the politically significant Krumi caste, was formerly with the Congress serving as a minister in the UPA government before joining the BJP.

Amarpal Maurya, the party’s state general secretary, is a prominent leader from the Koeri community, while Tejveer Singh, from the Jat community, is a former MP from Mathura actively involved in the cooperative movement. Sangeeta Balwant, former Minister of State for Cooperation in Uttar Pradesh, and Sadhna Singh, a former MLA from Chandauli district, are also among the candidates, along with Naveen Jain, a former mayor of Agra Municipal Corporation.

Given the BJP’s reduced strength compared to the previous Assembly, it can secure the victory of seven of its candidates for the ten vacancies.

Elections to the 56 seats of the Upper House of Parliament are scheduled to take place on February 27. The votes for all the seats will be counted the same day.

In Bihar, which has six seats and where the BJP-led NDA is again in alliance with JD(U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the party has nominated Dharmsheela Gupta and Bhim Singh. The fate of senior Bihar leader Sushil Kumar Modi hangs in the balance as his name did not appear among the party’s candidates.

Union ministers whose terms are ending were not included in the list, hinting at their probable participation in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. However, the party is yet to announce candidates from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

Subhash Barala, former Haryana BJP president and a Jat, will contest from Haryana, while Samik Bhattacharya will represent West Bengal. Mahendra Bhatt, Uttarakhand BJP president, is the party’s nominee for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from the state.

In addition to introducing new faces, many of whom have long served in the party organisation, the BJP has prioritised maintaining a balance of caste representation in its candidate selection.

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