Rajya Sabha polls: Congress fields Akhilesh Prasad Singh from Bihar

His victory in the March 23 Rajya Sabha polls is a certainty with the BJP having 43 lawmaker and the additional required support in the 224 member assembly. Shukla, whose term in the upper House is drawing to a close, was fielded by panicky party managers after concern that the original candidate, Naranbhai Rathwa, may not have all his papers in order.

Chandresekhar's nomination figures on top of a list of 10 points the Congress hurled against the BJP in a charge sheet.

RJD candidates Manoj Jha and Ashfaq Karim filed their nomination in the presence of the party's national vice-president Rabri Devi, state president Ram Chandra Purve and national executive member Tej Pratap Yadav.

Uttar Pradesh will have 10 vacancies.

In Bihar, there are six vacancies. So, the Congress has only 38 votes and is trying to get three to four additional votes.

"Congress president Rahul Gandhi has approved the proposal for the candidature of Akhilesh Prasad Singh from Bihar and Lekhram Sahu from Chhatisgarh for the Rajya Sabha election", AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes said. Hours after Congress announced its candidates, rumours began to do rounds that one of them, Naran Rathwa, would be replaced.

Muraleedharan would file his nomination to contest for the RS seat on Monday. While the BJP with a strength of 99 legislators in the Assembly can send its two nominees, the Congress with a strength of 77 in the House can also send only two nominees.

From Gujarat, the BJP has nominated ministers Mansukh L. Mandaviya and Purshottam Rupala.

BJP strategists are eyeing disgruntled elements in the Samajwadi party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BJP) along with the Congress in order to facilitate its ninth candidate to win.

Though the Congress High Command had suggested the name of Sam Pitroda, Siddaramaiah had been adamant that only people hailing from the state would be made candidates. Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel alleged, "Congress continues to suffer from factionalism". But finally, the name of BJP National General Secretary and Maharashtra State In-charge Saroj Pandey was announced by the Central Election Committee.

From Rajasthan, BJP has nominated Kirodi Lal Meena, who joined the party again on Sunday after leaving it a decade ago.

"As it is, party cadres are not happy about so many imports from other parties getting key positions in the BJP", the BJP leader said.

Baluni, who heads BJP's media departments, has been fielded from Uttarakhand while Rao, a spokesperson and psephologist, will file his nomination from Uttar Pradesh.

From Karnataka, the Congress has nominated L Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and GC Chandrasekhar. Chandrasekhar will win only if he manages to get a section of JD (S) votes.

Vanessa Coleman

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