Raipur: The decision of Chhattisgarh BJP to not contest for Rajya Sabha seats had cleared the road for Congress, but on the other side it also pushed the Congress into a dilemma. Under the leadership of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, a perception was created that regional Chhattisgarhiya must be given preference in plum postings and appointments over outsiders. But in the context of Rajya Sabha MP seats, Congress seemed to adopt a different approach.
Chhattisgarh qualifies for 5 Rajya Sabha seats. Out of the five, Congress nominated candidates on three seats. Meanwhile, in 2020, by using the local outsider ratio 1:1 formula, Congress had already nominated two candidates for Rajya Sabha KTS Tulsi (Supreme Court veteran lawyer) and tribal female leader Phulodevi Netam.
Notably, the tenures of BJP Rajya Sabha MP Ramvichar Netam and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Chhaya Verma are going to be over on June 29. Meanwhile, BJP leader Saroj Pandey got nominated for the Rajya Sabha seat in April 2018.
Meanwhile, in the 90-member Chhattisgarh legislative assembly, Congress holds 71 seats, BJP 14, Janta Congress Chhattisgarh 3 and BSP 2.
Moreover, in the appointment of vice chancellors in the Universities of the state, BJP was blamed for favoring outsiders. Now, BJP has targeted Congress over Rajya Sabha seats. Former Chief Minister Dr. Raman Singh mocked CM Baghel and asked whether Congress is giving preference to local candidates over outsiders in distribution of Rajya Sabha seats.
The possible names which can be nominated for Rajya Sabha seats are Priyanka Gandhi, Randeep Surjewala, P Chidambaram. Any one from these names can get a seat, said the sources.
Meanwhile, on a local level, the names which were highly discussed are PR Khunte (SC leader), Dr. Rakesh Gupta (President Raipur Hospital Board), Vinod Verma and Rajesh Tiwari (CM’s advisors), Rajendra Banjare, Dr. Kiranmayee Nayak (Chairperson, Chhattisgarh State Women Commission) and others.
On BJP's allegations that Congress opted dubious policy in the distribution of Rajya Sabha seats, instead of showing aggression Congress senior spokesperson SA Shukla defended the Congress' stand and said, when BJP leaders are aware that they are ineligible for Rajya Sabha seats this time, instead of getting focused on their internal issues, they are intentionally poking their nose into Congress' internal affairs. “Begani Shadi me Abdullah Diwana," Shukla said.
However, the names for Rajya Sabha seats will be finalized after having consultation with Rahul Gandhi, one senior Congress leader said. The last date for nomination is May 31.