In high-octane Rajya Sabha contest, 2 union ministers among 10 key candidates
Rajya Sabha polls: The elections to 16 seats across four states are witnessing a tight contest between the BJP and the opposition parties.
The voting for Rajya Sabha elections to 16 seats across four states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Haryana are underway. The elections are being held due to the number candidates exceeding the seats in these states. The elections are crucial to the ruling National Democratic Alliance. Last week, 41 candidates had been elected to the upper house unopposed in 11 states.
The Rajya Sabha polls feature prominent figures vying for a seat in the upper house across four states. Here's a look at few of them.
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Nirmala Sitharaman (BJP): Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is seeking a second straight term from Karnataka. She is among the six candidates in fray for the four seats in the southern state She had entered the upper house in July 2016.
Piyush Goyal (BJP): Union minister Piyush Goyal is seeking re-election from Maharashtra, which is witnessing a stiff contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance comprising Shiv Sena, Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party. Goyal is also the leader of Rajya Sabha.
Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena): Sanjay Raut, the Shiv Sena's prominent leader is seeking re-election from Maharashtra. Elected to the Upper House for the first time in 2004, Raut was re-elected in 2010 and 2016. He will need 41 votes to enter the Rajya Sabha for the fourth time.
Praful Patel (NCP): Former union minister and NCP leader Praful Patel is also in contention for a berth in the Rajya Sabha. Elected to the house for the first time in 2000, Patel was re-elected in 2006 but resigned after he was elected to the Lok Sabha. The senior NCP leader entered Rajya Sabha again in 2014 and was re-elected in 2016.
Imran Pratapgarhi (Congress): The grand old party has fielded its national head of minority cell from Maharashtra. Pratapgarhi, who belongs to Uttar Pradesh, had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Moradabad where he lost to Samajwadi Party's ST Hasan. His candidature from Maharashtra had triggered discontent within the Maharashtra Congress with a former MLA resigning as general secretary.
Randeep Surjewala (Congress): Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala has been fielded from Rajasthan, the state being ruled by his party. The western state is witnessing a tough fight between the BJP and the Congress.
Ajay Maken (Congress): Former union minister Ajay Maken is the Congress candidate from Haryana. The northern state is witnessing elections amid speculations of cross-voting.
Subhash Chandra (Independent backed by BJP): Media baron Subhash Chandra is in fray from Rajasthan, which is currently ruled by the Congress. On June 7, he had claimed that eight Congress MLAs might vote for him. He also asked former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot to cross sides.
Kartikeya Sharma (Independent backed by BJP): Former Congress leader Venod Sharma's son and media executive Kartikeya Sharma is contesting from Haryana. Sharma is the managing director of ITV Network which runs the news channel NewsX.
Jaggesh (BJP): Popular Kannada actor and former MLA Jaggesh is among the BJP candidates in the Rajya Sabha polls from Karnataka. In his three-decade long career, he acted in 147 movies. Jaggesh contested the Yeshwanthpur assembly seat in Bengaluru in 2018 elections but finished third. He was later appointed as the state spokesperson of the BJP.