Mumbai: Resentment is brewing in the Maharashtra unit of the Congress amid reports that the party`s central leadership is planning to field Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma from the state for next month`s Rajya Sabha elections.
Though no top leader or party functionary has gone on
record to oppose such a move, sources in the Congress on
condition of anonymity said the rank and file disfavour RS
nomination to Sharma from the state.
"They (the outsiders) neither respect the partymen
from the state nor assimilate themselves with the local
sentiments," a party official told a news agency stating that experience
of having outsiders as MPs from the state has not been good.
"If Sharma cannot be elected from Himachal Pradesh, he
can be moved to neighbouring Haryana or Rajasthan. Why here?
Should Maharashtra be turned into a dumping ground for those
who cannot get elected from their home states?" he said.
Sources said parties like Shiv Sena and MNS, who have
always sought to make political mileage out of the issue of
Marathi pride, would try to exploint the situation in the
upcoming elections to the Legislative Council.
Citing the example of MoS for Environment and Forests
Jairam Ramesh whose Rajya Sabha nomination has been opposed in
Andhra Pradesh, the state which he represents, sources said
such resentment stems from the fact that MPs from outside do
not keep in touch the party units in states which send them to
the Rajya Sabha.
Sources said sentiments against fielding "outsiders"
could have a bearing on the outcome of the biennial elections
to the Legislative Council, also scheduled next month.
While elections to six RS seats are scheduled for June
17, ten seats of the council go to poll on June 10.
The last day for filing nominations for Rajya Sabha is
June seven, three days ahead of the polling for Council seats.
The Rajya Sabha elections are held through an open
ballot system and Council polls by secret ballot.
Sources apprehend that resentment in the event of
Sharma being fielded could trigger cross voting by party MLAs
which had resulted in the defeat of the then Chief Minister
Vilasrao Deshmukh`s close confidante Sudhakar Gangane two
Anand Sharma`s RS term expired in April and Congress
does not have the required strength to get him elected from
his home state Himachal Pradesh. He can retain his place in
the union government for six months from the expiry of his
term without getting elected to any house of Parliament.
AICC Secretary in charge of the state Mohan Prakash,
however, said since the party is yet to begin the process of
scrutinising the candidates there is no reason for resentment
or anger among partymen.
Of the six Rajya Sabha seats for which elections will
be held on June 17, Congress has two. While media baron Vijay
Darda is a front-runner and is likely to be renominated,
former Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj Patil is now the Governor of