Hectic lobbying for berths in Congress for RS


New Delhi,  The Congress is set to lose its strength in the Rajya Sabha as 55 seats go to the polls next month and hectic lobbying has begun within the party for nominations.
The Congress has 46 seats in the Upper House and is likely to retain only 13 seats of the total. The party is going to get two seats each in MP, Chhatisgarh and Rajasthan, while one each in Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra. The party is eyeing one seat each in Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu with the help of allies while another seat in Maharashtra.

The current strength of UPA is 62 while NDA is 114.

The Congress is weighing options to send Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to the Upper House through the elections to be held in April this year. If sources are to be believed, the party General Secretary is likely to be sent in the Rajya Sabha from Chhatisgarh.

While more young leaders are also considered for a slot in the Upper House, including Jyotiraditya Scindia, who lost his seat from Guna in the general elections, top Rahul Gandhi aides Milind Deora and Rajiv Satavin could find place from Maharashtra, while Jitin Prasada may be inducted from Bihar, a seat which RJD could concede to the Congress.

R.P.N. Singh, who has led Jharkhand victory, may get his prize for the performance, said a source.

For Gujarat, where term of Madhusudan Mistry is expiring, many have thrown their hats in the ring, including Sagar Raika, Bharat Singh Solanki and Shakti Singh Gohil.

From Madhya Pradesh, Digvijaya Singh is likely to be repeated, while Randeep Singh Surjewala could get a nomination from Chhatisgarh.

If things go as planned, many veterans may not get a chance to go in the Rajya Sabha. The term of Motilal Vora is also ending and so is that of Kumari Selja.

A source said that one veteran and a young leader are likely to be accommodated in the Upper House.

The party is lacking a forceful voice in the Rajya Sabha and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra could fill the space. With Rahul Gandhi taking the government in the Lok Sabha, Priyanka could be the voice in the Rajya Sabha.

But, with this the party can also come under attack for promoting dynasts at the cost of other leaders. During the Lok Sabha polls, there were talks that Priyanka may also contest, but the plan did not take off. She had also expressed her keenness to fight from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but did not get party nod to go ahead as per plans.