All five candidates from Punjab, including sitting MPs Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Naresh Gujral from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and former state unit chiefs Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo from the Congress, were on Monday elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha. BJP candidate Shawait Malik too was elected unopposed from the state.
Monday was the last day of withdrawal of nominations to the Upper House and none of the five contestants withdrew their papers and no one filed their papers against them. All the five have been elected unopposed, an official spokesman declared here.
Senior SAD leaders Dhindsa and Gujral, who is son of former Prime Minister IK Gujral, were re-nominated by the party.
Former Union ministers Ashwani Kumar and MS Gill were not given re-nomination to the Rajya Sabha by Congress which had made former Punjab state chiefs Bajwa and SS Dullo its candidates. By nominating Bajwa, Congress has sought to reward him for making way for Captain Amarinder Singh as state chief a few months ago, ahead of the crucial assembly elections scheduled early next year.
With the nomination of Dullo, a prominent Dalit leader, Congress has sought to woo Jats and Dalits who comprise a sizable section in the poll-bound state.
BJP nominated former Amritsar mayor Malik as the term of Avinash Rai Khanna was coming to an end. Khanna, who is in-charge of party affairs in Jammu and Kashmir and the party’s central election officer, was not given a re-nomination. His term comes to an end on April 9.