New Delhi : Sheila Dikshit’s prospects of entering the Rajya Sabha ended on Tuesday. The Congress party did not give its three-time Delhi chief minister ticket to the upper house, who was expecting either from Himachal Pradesh or Haryana.
The party nominated Union Social Justice Minister Selja Kumari, 51, for the single Haryana seat and renominated 64-year old Viplove Thakur, whose first term had expired in 2012, from Himachal. Both are locals as Selja belongs to Haryana and Thakur to Himachal Pradesh.
Nomination of Selja came as a surprise as she is a four-time MP from Ambala. The party sources said she had sought the Rajya Sabha nomination since she had fallen out with Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and he may sabotage her prospects if she seeks re-election to the Lok Sabha.
The party also nominated Sultanpur MP Sanjay Sinh, 62, from Assam. Sinh is a close friend of late Rajiv Gandhi. While renominating Assam Congress chief Bhubaneswar Kalita for the second seat from the state, the party left one seat for the Bodos.
Sanjay Sinh was recently seen drifting towards the Bhartiya Janata Party as he felt difficult to get re-elected on the Congress ticket and that was a matter of great worry to the Congress since he holds considerable influence in Amethi, the constituency of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, as also the neighbouring Rae Bareli, the constituency of Sonia Gandhi. The urgency to rope him in with a Rajya Sabha berth arose since after AAP leader Kumar Vishwas announced to contest from Amethi. Sinh has been a Rajya Sabha member from 1990 to 1996 and twice elected to the Lok Sabha.
Selja quits as Minister
Selja, soon after her nomination, put in her papers and quit the Union Council of Ministers to work for Congress.
Selja, who held Social Justice and Empowerment portfolio since October 2012, submitted her resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night.
Congress sources said that the Union Minister is being drafted for party work for the next Lok Sabha polls.
The party high command is in search of a PCC chief for the state to replace Phulchand Mulana. Earlier the name of young party Ashok Tanwar, also a Dalit was doing rounds for the PCC post.