Congress ups firepower in Rajya Sabha

01VBG_CHIDAMBARAM_261388eIn a bid to add to its firepower in the Rajya Sabha, the Congress has nominated the former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram (from Maharashtra) and the former HRD Minister Kapil Sibal (from Uttar Pradesh), while re-nominating the former Union Ministers Jairam Ramesh (from Karnataka) and Ambika Soni (from Punjab) for the biennial elections to Rajya Sabha.

The others who have been nominated include Oscar Fernandes from Karnataka, Chaya Verma from Chhattisgarh, Vivek Tankha from Madhya Pradesh and Pradeep Tamta from Uttarakhand. This will be Mr. Fernandes’s fourth term in the RS; earlier he had been elected to the Lok Sabha five times. He is also on the board of Young Indian Pvt. Limited which looks after the National Herald.

The other three will be first timers in the Upper House. Ms. Chaya Verma is from the Kurmi community and was the president of the Zilla Parishad in Raipur, Mr. Tankha is a well-know lawyer.

Mr. Tamta is a Dalit and known to be close to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat.

Of these candidates, all should have a smooth entry into the Rajya Sabha except Mr. Sibal: in U.P., 37 votes are required for one seat but the Congress has just 29 MLAs.

Mr. Chidambaram did not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. A third nomination from Karnataka has been left to the party general secretary and PCC chief and CLP leader to decide.

Ms. Soni’s renomination from Punjab was expected ahead of the Assembly elections in the State next year: she is the chairperson of the campaign committee.

Mr. Ramesh as a former Rural Development Minister had spearheaded the attack on the BJP-led NDA government on the Land Acquisition Bill and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over thealleged GSPC scam. (Courtesy The Hindu)

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