The BJP on Monday claimed the ruling Congress in Chhattisgarh has betrayed and insulted people of the state by nominating candidates from “outside” for two Rajya Sabha seats from the state which will fall vacant next month.
The Congress has nominated its senior leader and journalist-turned-politician Rajiv Shukla and former Bihar MP Ranjeet Ranjan as its candidates from Chhattisgarh.
The state Congress unit defended its decision, saying the BJP should not make unnecessary statements as it does not have the moral right to comment on it.
The BJP has not fielded any candidate so far in view of its low strength in the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly, which constitutes the electoral college for the June 10 Rajya Sabha elections.
State BJP chief Vishnu Deo Sai targeted the ruling party and asked if this was the “Chhattisgarhiyawad” of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
“The selection of the Rajya Sabha nominees from outside the state is an insult and betrayal of the people of Chhattisgarh. The decision clearly shows that Baghel talks falsely about Chhattisgarhiyawad, he claimed.
Baghel plays ‘bhaunra’ and ‘pittul’ (traditional games) on camera to pretend that he is promoting regional pride, but he has now “compromised” Chhattisgarh’s self-respect before ’10 Janpath’ (referring to the official residence of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in Delhi), the BJP leader alleged.
He sought to know if not a single Congress worker or leader from the state deserved to get nominated for the Rajya Sabha.
Earlier, K T S Tulsi, who does not belong to Chhattisgarh, was nominated for the Rajya Sabha from the state and now there are two more nominees from outside, Sai said.
The people of Chhattisgarh will definitely teach a lesson to the Congress for this “insult”, he added.
Leader of Opposition in the Chhattisgarh Assembly Dharamlal Kaushik said it was expected that people of the state will get representation in the Rajya Sabha for two seats, but the ruling Congress ditched them as well as its own workers by nominating outsiders.
However, Chhattisgarh Congress communication wing head Sushil Anand Shukla said both the candidates nominated by the party high command are eligible, experienced and dedicated party workers and they will not only raise the issues pertaining to the state, but of the entire country.
The BJP should first introspect where it stands in the state. It is not even in a position to think of nominating a candidate for the Rajya Sabha, he said.
“Why does it have a problem with the Congress’s decision? Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Smriti Irnani had contested the election outside their state. Do they have an answer to this? The unnecessary statements of the BJP show its petty mentality, Shukla said.
The Congress currently has 71 MLAs in the state, the BJP has 14, the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) has three seats, while the Bahujan Samaj Party has two members in the Assembly.
Of the five Rajya Sabha members from Chhattisgarh, the term of two Chhaya Vemra (Congress) and Ramvichar Netam (BJP) – expires next month.
The other three Rajya Sabha members from the state are KTS Tulsi, Phulodevi Netam (both of the Congress) and Saroj Pandey (BJP).
The last day of filing nominations for the Rajya Sabha elections is May 31.