A senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader, considered the architect of the party’s alliances in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam, is among two RSS faces being considered for Rajya Sabha nomination.
Elections for 57 Rajya Sabha seats, which will fall vacant over the next three months, are scheduled for June 11.
The ruling BJP, which has failed to push through key reforms including the landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill in the Upper House, however, may not see any significant increase in numbers as gains in states such as Rajasthan will be compensated with losses in Uttarakhand and Karnataka where the Congress is in power.
“BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe are in contention for Rajya Sabha seats,” a party leader said, adding that seven ministers whose Rajya Sabha terms are ending, appeared set to return.
A former RSS pracharak, Madhav engineered the groundbreaking BJP-PDP alliance in Kashmir which put the saffron party in power in the Muslim-majority state for the first time.
He is also credited with stitching BJP’s pre-poll alliance with the AGP and BPF in Assam which gave the party the numbers to form its first government in the state.
Party sources said Madhav could join the Upper House either from Madhya Pradesh or Haryana, two states where the BJP is in power.
Sahasrabuddhe, who also heads an RSS-affiliated think tank, is also being considered for RS seats from Madhya Pradesh of which he party’s in-charge.
Union minister Venkaiah Naidu is looking for his fourth term from Karnataka and BJP is negotiating with the TDP commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s second term from Andhra Pradesh where the it does not have the numbers to win a seat.
The sources also said that Railways minister Suresh Prabhu, who represents Haryana, may be shifted to his home state Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, JD-U gave its nod for the re-nomination of senior leader Sharad Yadav and general secretary RCP Singh as its RS candidates.
Both Yadav and Singh were among the five JD-U Rajya Sabha members whose terms expired, along with national spokesman KC Tyagi, former bureaucrat Pawan Kumar Varma and Gulam Rasool Baliyavi, in July end, necessitating elections.
(With inputs from Patna)