Congress nominates Chidambaram, Sibal, Jairam for Rajya Sabha

ArrayNew Delhi, May 28 (IANS) The Congress on Saturday named former union ministers P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Jairam Ramesh, Ambika Soni and Oscar Fernandes as its candidates for the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha.

The party’s list of eight candidates from seven states also included Pradeep Tamta, Vivek Tankha and Chhaya Verma.

A party release said that the names had been finalised by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi in consultation with leaders from different states.

The party has nominated Chidambaram from Maharashtra after the party’s poor showing in the recent Tamil Nadu assembly polls, while Ambika Soni has been retained from Punjab and Oscar Fernandes from Karnataka.

The party has also decided to send Ramesh, whose term as member from undivided Andhra Pradesh is coming to end in June, to the upper house from Karnataka.

Tamta will be the party nominee from Uttarakhand, Tankha from Madhya Pradesh and Verma from Chhattisgarh.

The party has fielded Sibal from Uttar Pradesh and will need some additional votes to see him through. The Congress has 29 members in the Uttar Pradesh assembly and each candidate would require 36 votes to be successful in the 403-member house.

Elections will be held on June 11 for 11 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh falling vacant in July.

It was rumoured that the state’s ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) had offered a Rajya Sabha seat to Sibal but on the condition that he joins it but the senior leader has stayed put with the Congress.

A senior Congress leader said that the party will try to win over “friendly small parties” like Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which has eight members, rather being seen in “some sort of alliance with the SP”.

Chidambaram and Sibal are seen as articulate faces of Congress and their coming to the Rajya Sabha would add to party’s ability to target the Narendra Modi government.

The term of 57 members of Rajya Sabha, elected from 15 states, will end from June to August. Election to fill the vacancies has been scheduled for June 11.

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