Rajya Sabha Polls: BJP Fields Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal Among First 18 Names

New Delhi: The BJP on Sunday announced the names of 18 candidates from nine states in its first two lists for the June 10 Rajya Sabha (RS) elections, including Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from Karnataka and her Cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal from Maharashtra.

Six candidates are from Uttar Pradesh; three are from Maharashtra, two each from Karnataka and Bihar; and one candidate each from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Jharkhand. Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and senior leader Vinay Sahasrabuddhe did not feature in the lists. The name of BJP general secretary Dushyant Gautam, an RS MP from Haryana, was also missing.

The party expects to win 20 of 57 seats that will be up for grabs.

Uttar Pradesh: The party has fielded its former state president Laxmikant Bajpai; former Gorakhpur MLA Radha Mohan Das Agrawal; Sangeeta Yadav (another leader from Gorakhpur); Other Backward Class (OBC) leader Baburam Nishad; Mahila Morcha national general secretary Darshana Singh; and state vice-president Surendra Singh Nagar whose tenure in the Upper House of Parliament will expire on July 4.

Bihar: The party renominated incumbent Satish Chandra Dubey and sprung a surprise by fielding state unit secretary Shambhu Sharan Patel, a low-key Extremely Backward Class (EBC) leader from the Dhanuk community.

Rajasthan: The candidature of former MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari is said to be a message to former CM Vasundhara Raje. Before the 2013 Assembly elections, Tiwari along with Gulab Chand Kataria, Ramdas Agarwal and other senior leaders openly opposed Raje’s candidature for chief ministership.

Karnataka: Nirmala Sitharaman was not expected to be fielded from Karnataka on account of social media campaigns calling for local candidates to be chosen to espouse causes concerning the state. So, to balance the choice of the Union finance minister, the BJP chose popular film comedian S Jaggesh.

Madhya Pradesh: Kavita Patidar is the daughter of former BJP minister Bherulal Patidar and was the first woman to be appointed the general secretary of the party’s state working committee.

(With inputs from agencies)