With fewer Rajya Sabha seats up for grabs for the Congress in the upcoming biennial polls, opposition to “outsider candidates” are gathering momentum within the party.
In Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra, a significant section of the local leadership has reportedly conveyed to the party’s central leadership that local candidates should get nominations instead of candidates from other states.
The Congress may lose three seats from its present tally, 18 out of the 58 Rajya Sabha seats, which are going to polls on March 30. This has prompted state leaders to demand secured seats for local candidates from the party brass.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi, a leader from UP, faces opposition from within a section of the Andhra Pradesh Congress over his possible re-nomination from there. Alvi, however, refused to speculate: “I don’t think there will be any problem for our official candidates from Andhra Pradesh or elsewhere as far as the vote from the respective states are concerned,” Alvi told HT on Monday.
Former Andhra Pradesh Congress chief K Kesava Rao, however, says, “local leaders may expect that they would get the chance to contest the Rajya Sabha polls.” According to sources, a section of the state leadership has already asked Ghulam Nabi Azad—in-charge of the state— to pick local candidates for all the seats.In Bengal, the chances of party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed is low as the state leadership is asking ticket for a local face. "I have already told Pranab Mukherjee to consider local leaders," WBPCC chief Pradip Bhattacharyya said.
In Maharashtra, a section of the party is learnt to have opposed re-nomination of MoS for parliamentary affairs Rajeev Shukla from the state. Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is expected to get re-nomination from the second seat in the state.