Intense lobbying has begun in the Congress for seats in the Rajya Sabha with 54 members from 13 states retiring next month.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has already started consultations for selecting the candidates.
In the initial stage, sources said the Congress would decide on the candidates from winning seats and the consultation
process on seats to be filled with the help of “like-minded parties” would be taken up later.
Gandhi has held discussions with leaders and party in-charge of states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The process will continue for a few more days before the list is finalised.
Six vacancies each will be filled in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu; Uttar Pradesh will account for 11 seats followed by Bihar (5), Karnataka and Rajasthan (4 each), Madhya Pradesh and Orissa (3 each), Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Jharkhand (2 each) and Uttarakhand (1).
Senior Congress leaders retiring next month include Oscar Fernandes and B.K. Hariprasad (from Karnataka), Jairam Ramesh (Andhra Pradesh), Mohsina Kidwai (Chhattisgarh), Ambika Soni (Punjab), Satish Kumar Sharma (Uttarakhand), R.K. Dhawan (Bihar) and Santosh Bagrodia (Rajasthan).
The Congress is certain to win four seats in Andhra Pradesh, two each in Rajasthan and Maharashtra and one each in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh. There is a possibility it could get two more seats in
Karnataka and Rajasthan with the help of “secular forces”.
Congress sources said the party was finding it tough to re-nominate most of the sitting members in view of the reduced strength in some states. This has triggered hectic lobbying in the party with aspirants and their detractors presenting their respective cases before the central leadership.
BJP leader Raghubar Das, who has just resigned as deputy chief minister, said on Wednesday that the party state election committee would meet on Thursday to prepare a panel of the candidates for the two vacant Rajya Sabha seats of Jharkhand.
The polls will take place on June 17.
“The list will be sent to the national body for the final decision,” he said.