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Arjun, Shinde set to be elected unopposed to RS

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 17 (UNI) Union Ministers Arjun Singh, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Praful Patel and Dasari Narayana Rao, and senior BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vikram Verma are among 30 candidates in seven states set to be elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha as the deadline for filing nominations for the March 28 biennial elections to 59 seats ended today.

For the six seats each in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra, five in Madhya Pradesh, four in Orissa, two in Jharkhand and the lone seat in Chhattisgarh, there were a corresponding number of nominations and the candidates were expected to be declared elected after the last date of withdrawal of nominations on March 20.

The scrutiny of nominations will be held tomorrow.

Elections in all seats barring three have been necessitated in view of the retirement of incumbents on April 2 and 3. One seat has fallen vacant due to the death of Mr Biplab Dasgupta (West Bengal), one seat in Karnataka after the resignation of M Rajashekara Murthy and one in Orissa following the expulsion of BJP MP Chhatrapal Singh Lodha in the wake of the cash-for-query sting operation by a TV channel.

Other states where Rajya Sabha elections are being held are: Gujarat (4 seats), Rajasthan (3), Himachal Pradesh (2) and Haryana (one).

The four states where a contest is on the cards are Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and West Bengal.

In West Bengal there are six candidates for five seats, and in Uttaranchal Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi will battle it out with BSP's R K Verma for the lone seat.

While 13 candidates have filed papers for 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh, there are 10 nominations for the 4 vacancies from Karnataka.

In Lucknow, nominations were filed today by Mr Janeshwar Mishra, Mr Banwari Lal Kanchal, Mr Veerpal Singh, Mr Virendra Bhatia and Mr Mahendra Mohan Gupta (all Samajwadi Party), Maulana Mahmood Madni (RLD) and Mr Azad Kumar Kardam (Congress) BJP candidates Kalraj Mishra and Vinay Katiyar, along with industrialist Sudanshu Mittal as independent, had filed their nomination papers yesterday.

Jnanpeeth awardee U R Ananthamurthy joined the fray in Karnataka today with the backing of the All India Progressive Janata Dal and independents. Among the other nine candidates in the state were Mr Rehman Khan (Congress), Mr Rajasekhara Murthy and Mr Rajeev Chandrashekhar of the JD-S, Mr K B Shanappa (BJP) and independents -- Mr T Sudhakar, Mr B C Mallappa, Mr M Munireddy, Mr Harischandragowda and Mr Shashikumar.

In West Bengal, All India Trinamool Congress candidate Mukul Roy and Congress nominee Subrata Mukherjee filed their nominations today.

The election has been necessitated for five Rajya Sabha seats, four of which are currently held by Mr Nilotpal Basu (CPI-M), Mr Dipankar Mukherjee (CPI-M), Mr Manoj Bhattacharya (RSP) and Mr Jayanta Bhattacharya (Congress)-- all of whom are set to retire. The fifth seat fell vacant following the death of CPI (M) member Biplab Dasgupta.

Mr Basu, the party floor leader in the Upper House, and Mr Mukherjee have not been renominated.

Mr Subrata Mukherjee, who left Trinamool Congress before the last municipal election, told reporters that he was contesting at the directive of the Congress high command, while Mr Roy, the General Secretary of Trinamool, said the election would witness a ''grand alliance'' of the people.


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