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Congress Likely to Field Rajeev Shukla From Bihar for RS Elections, but Rift May Play Spoilsport

Rajeev Shukla was visiting Patna recently, but kept it under wraps and chose to avoid any media interaction. Party insiders told News18 that in all likelihood, he would be Congress’ Rajya Sabha candidate from Bihar.

Alok Kumar | News18dmalok

Updated:March 6, 2018, 4:56 PM IST
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Congress Likely to Field Rajeev Shukla From Bihar for RS Elections, but Rift May Play Spoilsport
File photo of Congress leader Rajeev Shukla. (PTI Photo)
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Patna: Amid fears of cross-voting by Bihar Congress legislatures, the party is considering to field its all-weather man, Rajeev Shukla for the Rajya Sabha elections in Bihar. The elections are due on March 23.

Interestingly, Rajeev Shukla was visiting Patna recently, but kept it under wraps and chose to avoid any media interaction. Party insiders told News18 that in all likelihood, he would be Congress’ candidate from the state.

The Congress has 27 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly and according to the rules, a candidate requires the support of at least 35 members to sail through. Though its ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has 79 MLAs, 9 more votes will do the trick for Shukla.

Yet, an internal rift within the party can destroy the chances as three of its MLAs have openly declared their support for Ashok Chaudhary, who along with three other members of the Legislative Council, recently revolted against the Congress leadership and joined the ruling Janata Dal (United).

Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) acting president Kaukab Qadri on Tuesday met party president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi and apprised him of the developments. Talking to News18, Qadri admitted that the candidature for the Upper House of the Parliament was also discussed.

When asked about Rajeev Shukla’s candidature, Qadri said, “These are initial discussions. Announcements will be made by the AICC.”

Qadri further added that his party was hoping to win the Bhabhua Assembly by-election, which will further boost their prospects in the Rajya Sabha elections.

He dismissed reports of fissures between the Congress MLAs. However, Munna Tiwary, one of the Ashok Chaudhary loyalists and Congress MLA from Buxar told News18 that he, along with other MLAs will complain to the party high command about the way Chaudhary was insulted in the party.

Meanwhile, Ashok Chaudhary, after joining the JDU(U), had said, “ Many of the Congress MLAs are in touch and they can turn to any side in the RS elections.”

The election for 58 Rajya Sabha seats are slated for March 23. Out of these, Bihar will send six members to the Upper House.

The tenures of three JD(U) members — party state president Bashishtha Narayan Singh, Mahendra Prasad Singh and Anil Sahni — are coming to an end while Ali Anwar and Sharad Yadav were disqualified from the House for “anti-party activities”. Ali Anwar’s term was anyway nearing completion but Sharad Yadav has challenged the decision in court.

Two other seats are also about to fall vacant as Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Dharmendra Pradhan will be retiring from the House on April 2.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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