Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar joins BJP

BJP likely to send these eight candidates to Rajya Sabha sans voting

Sources claimed that after SP MP Naresh Agarwal was denied renomination by Akhilesh Yadav for another term in the Rajya Sabha, the possibility of cross-voting by some of the SP MLAs in favour of the BJP candidates had increased. And this time too it seems to be headed the same way. "This takes the total number of candidates in the fray to 14, with SPs Jaya Bachchan and BSPs Bhimrao Ambedkar having already filed nominations earlier", returning officer Poonam Saxena told PTI.

On the last day to file nomination papers for the six Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar, senior BJP leader and Central Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, along with JD-U's Vashisht Narayan Singh and Mahendra Prasad, Congress leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh, and RJD's Ashfaque Karim and Manoj Jha, on Monday completed the formality in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Rabri Devi, and other party leaders. Mansukh Mandavia, minister of state for road transport and highways, and shipping, chemicals and fertilizers; and Parshottam Rupala, minister of state for panchayati raj, agriculture and farmers welfare filed their nominations for the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Congress also seems to be leaving nothing to chance after it faced one of the toughest Rajya Sabha elections in August past year when senior leader Ahmed Patel won by a narrow margin. Former Union minister in the previous Congress-led UPA government Naran Rathwa and senior leader of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Amee Yagnik have filed nominations as Congress party candidates. There seems to be a fight between Congress's third candidate and Farooq. Pradhan is a sitting Rajya Sabha member from Bihar.

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"Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has started calling the disgruntled among our legislators", a Congress politician said from Mumbai.

The AP assembly has 175 MLAS, out of which 125 legislators (including 22 defections from the YSRCP) are from the TDP, 44 from the YSRCP, four from the BJP and two independents. A candidate requires 37 first preference votes for a straight win and the ruling BJP can easily win eight. "The party chose to avoid all that, especially when it is still at loggerheads with the BJP at the centre and state", said a senior TDP leader, who was unwilling to be identified. In keeping with the BJP's strength in the state Assembly, three candidates of the party can be elected with the help of a few independents and small parties. The BJP now has 99 members in the legislature and this leaves it with 23 surplus votes.

The last date for withdrawal of candidature is 15 March.

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