NEW DELHI: The Congress on Saturday nominated former Union ministers P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal from Maharashtra and UP respectively for the June 11 biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha.
The party also re-nominated three more former Union ministers —Ambika Soni (Punjab), Oscar Fernandes and Jairam Ramesh (both from Karnataka) — to the Upper House. Since their re-election is a foregone conclusion, Soni will have a fifth term in Rajya Sabha followed by Fernandes with the fourth and Ramesh third. The re-nomination of Chidambaram and Sibal will add to the party’s firepower in the RS where the NDA is in minority. Both the leaders are expected to be elected unopposed.
While Chidambaram opted out of the contest from Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu in the 2014 LS elections, Sibal lost the Chandni Chowk seat in Delhi to BJP’s Harsh Vardhan. The party also nominated another senior lawyer, Vivek Tankha, from MP, former Lok Sabha MP Pradeep Tamta from Uttarakhand and Chaya Verma from Chhattisgarh.
Tankha, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Jabalpur, has moved the Supreme Court over the Vyapam multi-crore recruitment scam dubbed as the “biggest cover up story” by him.
While Tamta is a known loyalist of Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat, Verma is an OBC leader from Chhattisgarh. The BJP had desperately tried to woo her after she was denied the Congress ticket to contest the 2014 parliamentary elections from Raipur. The third nomination from Karnataka has been left to the party general secretary, the state chief and the CLP leader to decide. Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane has been named as the candidate for the legislative council elections in Maharashtra.