A leading TV actress Smriti Irani, president of All-India BJP Mahila Morcha, and a local old time Jan Sangh leader Dilip Pandya were on Saturday selected for nomination in Rajya Sabha by the BJP from Gujarat.
Three Rajya Sabha seats are going vacant from Gujarat this month and elections to fill up the vacancies are slated on July 22. July 12 is the last day for filing nominations. There are 11 Rajya Sabha seat in Gujarat out of which 8 are held by the BJP and remaining three by the Congress.
The terms of two Rajya Sabha members of BJP, party treasurer and former Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) chief Surendra Patel and RSS activist and tribal grassroots worker Pravin Naik, expire this month.
The third seat to go vacant from Gujarat is held by Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, who is being repeated by Congress for fourth term in the upper house of the parliament.
Besides, Irani, BJP national spokeswoman Nirmala Sitharaman’s name was also doing the rounds for the party nomination from Gujarat.
“Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader LK Advani were insisting on Nirmala, but party president Nitin Gadkari prevailed on them and nominated Irani, his choice and Pandya, who was recommended by Modi,” a senior BJP leader said.
Irani shot to fame and became a household name in Gujarat after her portrayal of a Gujarati bahu in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, a popular soap that had become a household name in Gujarat.
Having shot to fame, he joined BJP in 2003 and has been campaigning for the party in the assembly and general elections. The party had also fielded her against Congress veteran Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency where she lost.
She had campaigned extensively for BJP in civic elections last October in Gujarat. Not only in Gujarat but also in other states, Irani has been praising Modi and his development model and his efforts to maintain communal harmony after the 2002 riots in the state.
Dilip Pandya, 65 is old Jan Sangh worker from north Gujarat’s Siddhpur town. Pandya, a Brahmin is former president of Siddhpur Municipality.