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Hectic meetings at Sonia Gandhi’s residence to finalise Rajya Sabha nominees- Mrit News

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The suspense over whether dissident leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma would be Congress nominees for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections continued on Saturday amid hectic meetings by party chief Sonia Gandhi to finalise the list.

The party is expected to win eight Rajya Sabha berths, mainly from party-ruled States likes Rajasthan(3) and Chattishgarh (2) as well as in States where it is part of the ruling alliance like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath announced that sitting member Vivek Tankha would be repeated from the State, where the party has enough lawmakers to win one seat.

Though the party has not yet formally announced its nominees so far, senior leaders like P. Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh are believed to be top contenders from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, both States where the Congress can win one seat each.

Other Rajya Sabha contenders include Rajeev Shukla, Mukul Wasnik, Ajay Maken, Randeep Surjewala and Pramod Tiwari apart from Mr. Azad and Mr. Sharma, both of whom belong to G-23, the ginger group that sought internal reforms and collective leadership.

Earlier in the day, Ms. Gandhi had met general secretary (organisation) K. C. Venugopal to discuss possible candidates and some reports suggested that former party chief Rahul Gandhi may have joined in the deliberations virtually.

In the evening, Ms. Gandhi also met with the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mohan Markam.

The party can also win one seat from Haryana on the basis of its MLA strength and the Congress chief has already had a discussion with former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

In Rajasthan, the Congress has decided to contest all the three seats even though its numbers may fall short for one seat. It will bank on the support of non-BJP MLAs, said a source who is familiar with the situation in the State.

Among the allies, the Congress is facing resistance from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) as JMM Chief and Chief Minister Hemant Soren is unwilling to give the lone Rajya Sabha seat to them.

(With inputs from Subhomoy Sikdar in Bhopal)

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