The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has appointed union ministers in charge of the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has been appointed in charge of Rajya Sabha elections in Rajasthan and Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has been put in charge of Haryana. Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy has been assigned to Karnataka and Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw will oversee the party’s campaign efforts in Maharashtra.
The BJP has upped the ante in its bid to win more seats in those four states in the biennial upper house elections to be held on June 10.
The BJP fielded 22 candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections. The party fielded two candidates each in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. The BJP has released a list of three candidates from Maharashtra, including Union Trade Minister Piyush Goyal, and hopes to win the third seat.
In Karnataka, the party fielded three candidates to win the third seat amid perceived differences between the Congress and the Janata Dal (secular) alliance.
In Rajasthan and Haryana, two media barons entered the fray, making the competition tougher for Congress which fielded four candidates from two states.
Subhash Chandra, chairman of Zee Group, is set to run for Rajya Sabha of Rajasthan as an independent candidate backed by the BJP. Kartikeya Sharma, managing director of ITV Network, is set to contest the Rajya Sabha elections from Haryana and his entry could complicate matters for Congress candidate Ajay Maken.
There are 13 independent candidates for the state assembly who support the government of Rajasthan led by Ashok Gehlot.
The Bharatiya tribal party, based in Gujarat and formed by Chhotubhai Vasava, has two members in the Rajasthan assembly. In Haryana, Jannayak Janata Party leader Ajay Singh Chautala has said that the party’s 10 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) will support independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma for the Rajya Sabha seat.
Tripura will go to the polls next year. The party opted to send National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, Assam Urban Development Minister Ashok Singhal and Jayanta Malla Baruah who is Political Secretary to the Chief Minister of Assam for the by-elections.
Kailash Vijayvargiya was in charge of the BJP’s polling effort in West Bengal where the party improved its performance in assembly polls but failed to unseat the Congress from Trinamool. This is Kailash Vijayvargiya’s first major mission after the elections in Bengal.
The election for the four assembly seats in Tripura is scheduled for June 23. The by-election for the Agartala seat was necessitated after former minister Sudip Roy Barman resigned from the BJP to join the Congress in January this year.
The by-elections take place around eight months before the next assembly election in Tripura and will be a litmus test for Manik Saha who recently replaced Biplab Deb as chief minister.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)