A senior BJP leader considered the architect of the party’s alliances in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam is among two RSS faces likely to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha, HT has learnt.
Elections for 57 Rajya Sabha seats which will fall vacant over the next few weeks 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 heads an RSS-affiliated think tank, is also a claimant for the RS seats from Madhya Pradesh.
Union minister Venkaiah Naidu is looking for his fourth term from Karnataka though there are doubts over Union commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman getting a second term from Andhra Pradesh where the BJP 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.
On the opposition side, those who are likely to make a comeback include lawyer Ram Jethmalani – this time as an RJD member -- and Amar Singh on a Samajwadi Party ticket from Uttar Pradesh. RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi will also make her debut in national politics as a member of the Upper House from Bihar.
The Congress is likely to re-nominate Ambika Soni from Punjab and Oscar Fernandes from Karnataka.