Mumbai: Congress candidate Rajni Patil was on Saturday declared elected to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra unopposed.
The by-election was necessitated due to the death of former Chief Minister and Union Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in August last year. The 288-member legislative assembly formed the electoral college. The term of the seat expires on April 2, 2018.
Today was the last date of withdrawal of nomination papers. The opposition Shiv Sena-BJP did not field a candidate against Patil on Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan`s request to allow an uncontested poll since the seat was held by late Deshmukh.
Talking to reporters after collecting her winning certificate, Patil said development issues concerning the state and highlighting the issues concerning women in Rajya Sabha would be her priority.
She also stressed the need for the Congress to rebuild the party from the grass-root in Marathwada region from where she hails.
Patil rejected criticism that loyal party workers who have always remained with the party were overlooked to accommodate her for the Rajya Sabha seat.
"I have been with the congress since my student days. It was after Rajiv Gandhi`s death, interests of genuine party workers in our district were deliberately ignored and I decided to switch sides to the BJP. I rejoined immediately after Sonia Gandhi took charge of the party," she said.
Patil said she worked for 14 years in the party in different capacities before getting the Rajya Sabha nomination.