Rajya Sabha polls: All three BJP candidates elected unopposed from Rajasthan

BJP candidates - Kirori Meena, Bhupender Yadav and Madan Lal Saini - were declared elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan.

Rajya Sabha polls: All three BJP candidates elected unopposed from Rajasthan
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Jaipur: The three BJP candidates in Rajasthan for the biennial Rajya Sabha elections were on Thursday elected unopposed as no other contestant had filed their nomination.

BJP candidates - Kirori Meena, Bhupender Yadav and Madan Lal Saini - were declared elected unopposed after scrutiny of their nominations, secretary, Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, Prithvi Raj, said

He said that Returning Officer Akhil Arora declared the candidates as the winner.

Meena had separated from the BJP in 2008 and had rejoined the party on Sunday along with his two National Peoples Party (NPP) MLAs. He, as the state president of the NPP, which he had joined in 2013, also merged his party with the BJP.

Like Meena, sitting Rajya Sabha MP Bhupendra Yadav and veteran party leader Saini were also in fray from Rajasthan.

Opposition Congress had announced that it would not field candidates for the biennial Rajya Sabha polls and no other candidates filed nomination for the election.

The tenure of Yadav and two Congress MPs Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Narendra Budania ends on April 3. 

Meanwhile, four candidates - two each of the Congress and the BJP - were on Thursday elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat, days after the last moment entry of two nominees from these parties raised the prospect of a contest.

Union ministers Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia (BJP) and Naran Rathwa and Amee Yajnik (Congress) were declared elected unopposed by the election authorities after BJP's Kiritsinh Rana and Congress-backed Independent PK Valera backed off on the last day of withdrawal of nominations on Thursday.

A total of four seats were up for grabs from the state. "BJP's Union ministers Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandavia, and Congress candidates Naran Rathwa and Amee Yajnik are declared elected unopposed," Returning Officer for Rajya Sabha polls, AV Karova, said, PTI reported.

"On the last day of withdrawal of nomination forms, BJP candidate Kirsitsinh Rana and Independent nominee PK Valera, along with other dummy candidates, withdrew their papers, leaving only four candidates," he said.

The prospect of a contest came up when Valera, a Congress general secretary, and Rana filed their forms on the last day of filing of nomination papers on March 12.

On March 13, the BJP took objection to Rathwa's candidature during the scrutiny of forms alleging that he had filed a 'fake' no-dues certificate along with his nomination forms.

However, the returning officer overruled the BJP's allegations and accepted Rathwa's papers during scrutiny. Unhappy with the officer's decision, the BJP approached the Election Commission demanding the nomination of Rathwa be quashed because of "several irregularities" in his form.

However, the poll panel ruled out any immediate intervention. The election of two official nominees each of the BJP and the Congress was a foregone conclusion given the numerical strength of both the parties in the 182-member Assembly.

The ruling BJP has 99 MLAs while the opposition Congress 77. The minimum number of votes required per candidate is 38.

On the other hand, BJP's nominee for the Rajya Sabha polls in Maharashtra withdrew on Thursday, clearing the way for the other six candidates, including Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, to be elected to the Upper House unopposed.

"Maharashtra State Commission for Women chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar has withdrawn from the fray," the state's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat said. 

Notably, Thursday was the last day for withdrawing nominations. The biennial Rajya Sabha elections will be held on March 23, 2018.

With the BJP nominee withdrawing her papers, the election of the remaining six candidates is a mere formality now. For the six RS seats falling vacant, there are four candidates from BJP and one each from Congress, National Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena.

"The BJP nominees include Javadekar, former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane and former Kerala BJP president V Muraleedharan," Bapat said. The list of candidates from other parties includes senior journalist Kumar Ketkar (Congress), Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) and Vandana Chavan (NCP).

Rane quit the Shiv Sena in 2005 and later joined the Congress. He ended his over a decade-long association with the party in September last year, formed the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh, and allied with the BJP-led NDA.

At present, the Opposition Congress and the NCP hold two seats each, while the Shiv Sena and the BJP have one seat each of these six RS seats. The BJP, with its tally of 122 in the Assembly, is poised to get three RS seats now, while the Sena, the Congress and the NCP will get one each. 

(With PTI inputs)

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