Parties announce candidates: RS polls on Mar.23

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday cried foul after the returning officer accepted Gujarat Congress leader Naran Rathwa's nomination for a Rajya Sabha seat, ANI reported.

"On the last day of withdrawal of nomination forms, BJP candidate Kirsitsinh Rana and Independent nominee PK Valera, along with other dummy candidates, withdrew their papers, leaving only four candidates", he said.

According to sources in the party, the decision to seek the Speaker's intervention to prevent the rebel legislators from casting their vote was to build pressure on the Congress, which without these seven rebel candidates will not be able to get its third candidate, G.C. Chandrashekar, elected. The main opposition party RJD and Congress benefited by two seats and one seat respectively in the Rajya Sabha election. This will be his second term as a Member of the Parliament.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on March 11 approved ten names to contest for the biennial Rajya Sabha elections. Each candidate has to get 44.5 votes (45 votes) to enter the Rajya Sabha.

"Maharashtra State Commission for Women chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar has withdrawn from the fray", the state's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Girish Bapat said. Their nominations were filed after the BJP kicked up a row over the validity of Rathwa's nomination March 13 - the last day of registration.

Fortunately for the Congress, its nominee Rathwa's papers were found to be valid ensuring that he remained in the fray as its official candidate. The ruling party is hoping that by engineering defection in ranks of Congress and NCP and getting extra votes from Shiv Sena its fourth candidate will sail through. The JD (S), fully aware of its rebel MLAs' plan to join the Congress ahead of Karnataka assembly Election 2018, has now chose to bring in a legal checkmate. Anil Desai of Shiv Sena, NCP's Vandana Chavan and Congress's Kumar Ketkar also went through to the upper house.

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday questioned the BJP for fielding Rane for RS poll when he was not even a member of their party. He ended his over a decade-long association with the party in September a year ago, formed the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh, and allied with the BJP-led NDA.