The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced its list of 14 candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. Among them are notable figures such as former Union minister R P N Singh and Sudhanshu Trivedi, the only outgoing MP renominated by the party.
In a strategic move, Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar of Karnataka and BJP chief spokesperson Anil Baluni, the outgoing MP from Uttarakhand, have been replaced with fresh faces, hinting at their possible candidacy in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Among the fresh names are Narayansa K Bhandage from Karnataka and Devendra Pratap Singh from Chhattisgarh, individuals who, despite being lesser-known, have been acknowledged for their dedicated service to the party over the years.
R P N Singh, hailing from the historically significant Gond royal family, steps in to replace Saroj Pandey.
However, the fate of senior Bihar leader Sushil Kumar Modi remains uncertain as his name is notably absent from the party's candidate list. With Bihar offering six vacancies, both the ruling NDA and the opposition are expected to secure three seats each, with the JD(U), a BJP ally, yet to announce its candidate for one seat.
Meanwhile, notable Union ministers, including Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala from Gujarat, Dharmendra Pradhan and L Murugan from Madhya Pradesh, and Narayan Rane from Maharashtra, are among those set to retire from the House as members.
R P N Singh, known for his affiliation with the politically influential Krumi caste, previously served as a minister in the Congress-led UPA government before joining the BJP.
The BJP's candidate selection process also emphasizes a balanced representation across caste lines, with a mix of experienced leaders and fresh faces chosen to contest the elections.
With 56 Rajya Sabha seats across 15 states up for grabs on February 27, and the deadline for nominations set for February 15, the BJP is yet to finalize candidates from key states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
Notably, BJP president J P Nadda's name is absent from the list due to the party's inability to secure a seat for him from Himachal Pradesh, currently under Congress rule. Sources suggest that Nadda may seek election from another state or opt for a Lok Sabha candidacy.
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, have been renominated. Despite the BJP's reduced strength compared to the previous assembly, the party is poised to secure the victory of seven out of its ten candidates.