’s remarks in Rajya Sabha Thursday that some
of the House may be headed for ‘
’ (public arena) gave a fillip to speculation about senior BJP functionaries, including Union ministers, with a few exceptions, being asked to contest upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“Our friends… are moving towards new responsibilities… from this limited expanse. So, I believe their support and experience here… will prove to be a huge asset for country,” Modi said, with party circles interpreting his remarks in the context of retiring members being fielded in elections or being given organisational responsibilities.
‘Hope he keeps guiding & inspiring us’: Modi lauds outgoing RS MP Manmohan
Rajya Sabha Thursday bade farewell to six-time MP Manmohan Singh and 67 other retiring members, with PM Modi praising his predecessor for his “invaluable thoughts” and commitment as a parliamentarian. Recalling that Singh had attended RS voting in a wheelchair, Modi said “this shows how alive he was towards his duties as an MP… to empower democracy… That is why I pray for his health and long life and that he keeps guiding and inspiring.” Modi’s praises came amid uncertainty over whether Cong will give an ailing Singh (91) another RS term.
Sitharaman, Jaishankar and Nadda likely to be exempted from LS fight
Sources said party president J P Nadda, who is among the retiring members and has no chance of a repeat from his home state Himachal Pradesh, is likely to retain his membership by getting nominated from some other state while finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and foreign minister S Jaishankar, both having more than three years of their tenures left, are likely to be exempt.
However, sources indicated that other senior ministers, including Dharmendra Pradhan, Bhupender Yadav and Piyush Goyal, are likely to enter the poll fray.
Election Commission recently notified polls to 56 Rajya Sabha seats to be held on Feb 27. The retiree list includes Nadda, nine Union ministers and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, education minister Pradhan, environment minister Bhupender Yadav and health minister Mansukh Mandaviya are among the other retirees.
Besides, four nominated members are retiring in July while one nominated seat is vacant. Among the nominated members retiring in July are Mahesh Jethmalani, Sonal Mansingh, Ram Shakal and Rakesh Sinha of BJP.
BJP sources said the party will nominate its candidates for the biennial RS polls one or two days ahead of the last date of filing nomination papers on Feb 15. Once the names are announced, it will also shed light on senior ministers and other members being repeated, relieved or considered as candidates for Lok Sabha polls.
Sources said the party brass has already sought a list of nominees to be considered for the RS polls. At the same time, the retiring members were also asked to suggest the LS constituencies they might be interested to contest in case they are not repeated.