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Race to Rajya Sabha in Gujarat: Old war horses in the fray?

Friday, 17 January 2014 - 1:50pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

Names of old faces like Advani, Amit Shah from BJP and Siddharth Patel and Arjun Modhwadia from Congress are doing the rounds.

Elections to the four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat, that fall vacant this month, appear all set to throw up new faces. According to reliable sources in the Congress and BJP, none of the sitting MPs is likely to be repeated.

In BJP, though Narendra Modi may well throw up a surprise, for now the buzz is party patriarch LK Advani, Amit Shah and RC Faldu could be the nominees. Advani’s nomination is seen as a case of rehabilitating the senior leader since the prestigious Gandhinagar seat needs to be freed up for a local leader. However, there has also been buzz of Advani wanting to contest a Lok Sabha seat from Madhya Pradesh or another state owing to the rift with Modi.

Shah and Faldu’s candidatures are with an eye on Modi’s future in Delhi wherein he will need loyalists. An informed party leader reflects this time BJP’s RS candidates will not be based on caste calculations, but totally oriented towards their benefit to Modi on his elevation to the capital.

“Parshottam Rupala is sidelined for a while now. The task of pacifying communities like Thakore and Koli has been completed in recent appointments. However, there may be key appointments in corporations before the RS nominations. Rupala may be accommodated as chairman of a board or corporation,” he said.

Observers in BJP feel another reason for Shah’s nomination to the RS would be to clear the field for the regional political growth of Anandiben Patel. “Shah is clear he wants his political future in Delhi. He will either go to RS or contest a safe LS seat from Gujarat,” a source confided.

In Congress, Alka Kshatriya’s term is ending. The probabilities of repeating her for a third term are very low. Instead, some of the leaders who lost their Assembly seats are eyeing the prestigious post. Dr Chandrika Chudasama, who lost from Mangrol Assembly seat in 2012, is among the front-runners.

Otherwise, former leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil, party president Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel who lost from Bhavnagar, Porbandar and Bardoli, respectively, are also in the fray.

Sources in Congress feel a woman candidate is likely to replace Kshatriya. A surprise candidature, in the form of a high-profile non-political appointment, is also being discussed.

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