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Disquiet in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh over ‘outsiders’ being nominated as Rajya Sabha candidates- Mrit News

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Congress was forced to defend its choices in Chhattisgarh after stinging comments while an independent who is crucial for victory in Rajasthan sought a ‘rethink’

Congress was forced to defend its choices in Chhattisgarh after stinging comments while an independent who is crucial for victory in Rajasthan sought a ‘rethink’

The decision of the Congress to field ‘outsiders’ from party-ruled Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections may be an act of assertion by the Gandhis but there was a sense disquiet in these States that go to Assembly polls in the latter part of 2023.

On Monday, the Congress in Chhattisgarh was forced to defend its choice of nominees after former Chief Minister and BJP leader Dr. Raman Singh called it an ‘insult’ to the State that no local leader was found suitable for a Rajya Sabha berth.

“Outsiders are going to the Rajya Sabha, people are left to collect gobar (cowdung) and Congressmen from the State are left to eat Bore Basi (soaked rice),” Dr. Singh said in a statement.

Interestingly, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who plays on Chhattisgarhi pride as his main political plank, stayed away from congratulating the nominees on social media platforms even though party spokesperson defended the move

And in Rajasthan, an independent MLA, whose vote will be crucial for ensuring the victory of all the Congress candidates, asked for a ‘rethink’.

Many leaders privately argued that the imposition of candidates, close to the Gandhi siblings, also reflected the weak position of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his Chhattisgarh counterpart following a leadership tussle in the States.

The move will also invite a political response from veterans like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma, key G-23 member pushing for internal reforms in the party, who have been snubbed.

Even though Congress President Sonia Gandhi is said to have reached out to Mr. Azad on Sunday evening, the fault lines have sharpened.

Lok Sabha member and another G-23 leader, Manish Tewari, subtly questioned the decision by stating that the Rajya Sabha isn’t fulfilling the role that it is meant for.

Earlier in the day, actor-tunned-politician Nagma Morarji and party spokesperson Pawan Khera took to Twitter to state that their tapasya (penance) was not good enough even though they congratulated the party nominees.

In Rajasthan, when the Congress has decided to contest a third seat in Rajasthan, the situation could be tricky as well. The ruling party is comfortably placed to elect two candidates (Randeep Surjewala and Mukul Wasnik), it will need help from independent MLAs for the third candidate, Pramod Tiwari.

And with some party MLAs speaking out against the Ashok Gehlot-led government, analysts don’t rule out the possibility of cross-voting.

“The Congress party should tell what is the reason for not making any Congress leader/worker from Rajasthan, a candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections?”, tweeted independent MLA from Sirohi, Sanyam Lodha, who also serves as an adviser to Mr. Gehlot.

Some argued that the Rajya Sabha berths should have used to accommodate members of tribal and minority communities ahead of next year’s Assembly elections.

Former Minister and Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Raghuveer Meena and former MP Tarachand Bhagora were among the hopefuls from the tribal-dominated Udaipur division.

Congress MLA from Sangod, Bharat Singh Kundanpur, shot off a letter to the Chief Minister, saying the senior party leaders were not willing to fight the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections and wanted to “remain alive” through Rajya Sabha. “These leaders become inaccessible after winning election and show no regard for MLAs and party workers,” Mr. Kundanpur said.

Mr. Gehlot, in a post on Twitter, said that he was confident that the people of Rajasthan will not only benefit from experience of the three senior leaders but as Rajya Sabha members they would raise the State’s voice at the national level and build pressure on the NDA government at the Centre on the issues such as Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project, Dedicated Freight Corridor and the pending railway projects.

“The framers of the Indian Constitution had conceived the Second Federal Chamber as the Council of States as Article 1 states India that is Bharat will be a Union of States. However for decades now the Rajya Sabha has failed in articulating the rights of the State qua the Federation, the principal objective of it’s inception. It has become a political parking lot across the political spectrum,”Mr Tewari told The Hindu.

In Chhattisgarh, there were at least half a dozen local aspirants including State unit vice-president Girish Dewangan; Mr Baghel’s political adviser Vinod Verma; State secretary Ajay Sahu and AICC secretary Rajesh Tiwari. Bhilai District Congress president Kusum Sahu, who was in Uttarakhand on a pilgrimage, had asked to be present in Raipur after her name reportedly figured in the discussion between Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and State unit Mohan Markam last Saturday.

However, defending the party’s choice of Rajeev Shukla and Ranjeet Ranjan from the State, Congress spokesperson Sushil Anand Shukla described them as “experienced, committed and deserving workers”.

(With inputs from Mohammed Iqbal in Jaipur and Shubhomoy Sikdar in Raipur)


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