Raipur. The election process for two Rajya Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh is gaining momentum, with the last date for the nomination has been decided as May 31. Even as the two seats of Chhattisgarh are sure to go to Congress, several claimants may pose a challenge to the party leadership. There are more than a dozen contenders for these seats, with three of them having written letters directly to the National President Sonia Gandhi seeking tickets.
The Raipur branch of the Indian Medical Association has written a letter to Congress National President Sonia Gandhi for giving a Rajya Sabha ticket to Dr Rakesh Gupta, President of Congress Medical Cell. IMA Raipur President Dr Vikas Agrawal and Secretary Dr Digvijay Singh have said on behalf of the Association that they recommend the name of Dr Rakesh Gupta on behalf of the Association. Dr Gupta’s father, Sardari Lal Gupta, has also been a prominent leader in Congress. Dr Gupta has innate leadership qualities. He was elected President of Raipur Medical College Students’ Union in 1983-84 and led the movement for a 700-bed hospital in medical college. He was active in Youth Congress. He was also instrumental in the victory of the 2018 assembly elections.
Similarly, former MP P R Khunte wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi last week seeking a Rajya Sabha ticket. Khunte wrote that the Congress has so far sent people from the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, General Classes and Women’s Classes to the Rajya Sabha. Therefore, this time a Scheduled Caste candidate should be given an opportunity. If Congress declares a candidate from this category, then 55 lakh voters of the Scheduled Caste category of the state will get representation. Khunte even said that for the last 22 years, he has been asking for tickets for the Assembly, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, but the party did not even give him a chance to contest the elections.
Meanwhile, Rajendra Pappu Banjare has also written a letter to Sonia Gandhi. Under the formula of giving a 50% chance to the youth in power and organization, he is a strong contender for Rajya Sabha. In the Satnami Samaj Sangathan of Chhattisgarh, he has worked on the posts of Raipur Rural District President to State Office bearer. During the 15 years of BJP rule, he led several agitations and did not hesitate to go to jail. He was instrumental in creating an atmosphere in favour of Congress. As a result, in the 2018 elections, the Congress candidates won seven out of the ten reserved seats for the Scheduled Castes. He has also attached his detailed resume with the letter. He has sent a copy of this letter to Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, State in-charge PL Punia, Chandan Yadav, Saptagiri Shankar Ulka and State President Mohan Markam.
There are a dozen contenders for the Rajya Sabha among senior leaders in the Congress organization. Religious leader Baldas of Satnami Samaj, Shakun Dahria and P R Khunte, wife of minister Dr Shiv Kumar Dahariya from the Scheduled Caste category. Vinod Verma, Satish Chandra Verma, former MLA Lekhram Sahu, Chairman of Mineral Development Corporation Girish Dewangan and Chairperson of Women’s Commission, Dr Kiranmayi Nayak, are under consideration. On the other hand, from the general category, the Parliamentary Advisor to the Chief Minister and National Secretary of Congress Rajesh Tiwari, Dr Rakesh Gupta, Chairman of Communications Department Sushil Anand Shukla, Chairman of Text Book Corporation Shailesh Nitin Trivedi and Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Board name is coming to fore.
The top leadership of the Congress will give a chance to the local leader in one seat. At present, among the three members of Congress in the Rajya Sabha, Phulodevi Netam belongs to the Scheduled Tribes. Chhaya Verma was from the backward class and is retiring soon, while KTS Tulsi is from Delhi. In such a situation, someone from the general, backward or scheduled caste category can get a chance to go to the Rajya Sabha. Vinod Verma, Rajesh Tiwari, Satish Chandra Verma, Lekhram Sahu and Guru Baldas are serious contenders.
Party sources said Congress will announce the candidate in Chhattisgarh on May 30. Nominations will take place on May 31. BJP is not contesting the election. In such a situation, the election will be unopposed. Meanwhile, Congress state president Mohan Markam has left for Delhi.