Gujarat: The Congress has fielded veteran tribal leader Naran Rathwa and a spokesperson Amee Yajnik for the March 23 Rajya Sabha election.
All the four Gujarat candidates, including the BJP’s Purshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya, will be filing their nominations on Monday.
Selection of Rathwa, a tribal leader, has come after the Congress’s performance in December 2017 assembly elections remained far from remarkable in tribal belt of south Gujarat. He was Union minster of state for Railways and had won four Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress had performed very well in Patidar dominated Saurashtra region.
The BJP’s both candidates, who are also Union ministers of state, are Patidars and hail from Saurashtra.
However, Yajnik’s selection has not gone down well with state Congress’s women’s wing president, Sonal Patel, who has called her a “parachute candidate” and threatened to resign.
“I have personally nothing against Yajnik. But the women’s wing has been extremely disappointed at the selection of Yajnik, who is not an active party member. Lakhs of women, who have been working hard for the party, should have been given the chance instead of the one who subscribes to Congress ideology but is largely focused on her work,” Patel said.
The term of four Rajya Sabha members of Gujarat, all from the BJP, expires this month. The BJP, this time, has to settle for just two instead of four seats, given its reduced tally of 99 seats in 182-member Gujarat assembly from the earlier 115.
The BJP, which has been at the receiving end of the Patidar agitation for the OBC quota, has retained its two Patidar members.
Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who was thrice sent to the upper house from Gujarat, will this time be contesting from Uttar Pradesh. The BJP had to drop is fourth member and OBC leader Shanker Vegad.