BJP announces 14 candidates for Rajya Sabha polls; RPN Singh, Sudhanshu Trivedi in list

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Sunday named 14 candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls including former Union minister RPN Singh and Sudhanshu Trivedi – the only outgoing MP re-nominated by the party.

Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who represents Karnataka in Rajya Sabha, and BJP chief spokesperson and media head Anil Baluni, the outgoing MP from Uttarakhand, have been replaced with fresh faces amid indications that they may contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Some of the new names, including Narayansa K Bhandage from Karnataka and Devendra Pratap Singh from Chhattisgarh, are little known but have been rewarded for their years of hard work for the party, something the current BJP leadership has often recognised.

Singh is from the erstwhile Gond royal family and replaces Saroj Pandey.

Sadhna Singh, Tejveer Singh, Amarpal Maurya, Sangita Balwant and Navin Jain are the BJP nominees from Uttar Pradesh besides RPN Singh and Trivedi.

Senior Bihar leader Sushil Kumar Modi's fate hangs in the balance as his name did not figure among the candidates named by the party.

Bihar has six vacancies and both the ruling NDA and the opposition is likely to win three seats each, going by their current strengths. The JD(U), a BJP ally, is likely to name its candidate for one seat.

The BJP candidates from the state are Dharmshila Gupta and Bhim Singh.

None of the Union ministers, whose terms are coming to an end, were named in the list amid a strong possibility that many of them will contest the Lok Sabha polls.

However, the party is yet to name many candidates including from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Union ministers Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala from Gujarat, Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and L Murugan, both of whom represent Madhya Pradesh, and Union minister Narayan Rane from Maharashtra are among those retiring from the House as members.

R P N Singh, who comes from the politically important Krumi caste, was in the Congress before joining the BJP. He was a minister in the Congress-led UPA government.

Former Haryana BJP president Subhash Barala, a Jat, will be the party's candidate from the state and Samik Bhattacharya from West Bengal.

Uttarakhand BJP president Mahendra Bhatt is the party's choice for the lone Rajya Sabha berth from the state.

Besides relying on new faces, many of whom have been working in the party organisation for long, the BJP has maintained a balance of caste equation in picking its candidates.

Elections for 56 Rajya Sabha seats spread across 15 states are scheduled to be held on February 27, and the last date for filing nominations is February 15.

The name of BJP president J P Nadda, whose term from Himachal Pradesh is coming to an end, is not on the list. With the Congress in power in the state, the BJP is not in a position to get its member elected, and Nadda, sources said, may be brought to the Upper House from some other state or may contest the Lok Sabha polls.

Except for Sudhanshu Trivedi, none of the nine outgoing BJP MPs from Uttar Pradesh including Anil Jain, Anil Agrawal and G V L Narasimha Rao has been renominated.

The BJP's current strength, which is less than the previous assembly, means that it can ensure the win of seven of its candidates for 10 vacancies.

The party's state general secretary Amarpal Maurya is considered a prominent leader from the Koeri community.

Tejveer Singh, who comes from the Jat community, is a former MP from Mathura and is currently active in the cooperative movement. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Mathura in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Sangeeta Balwant was the Minister of State for Cooperation in the first Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh. In the 2022 assembly elections, she was defeated from the Ghazipur Sadar seat by 1,600 votes.

Sadhna Singh is a former MLA from Chandauli district. Naveen Jain is a former mayor of Agra Municipal Corporation.