BJP president Amit Shah is set to make his debut as a member of Parliament with the BJP parliamentary board today announcing that he will contest the August 8 Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat.
Union minister Smriti Irani will also contest the Rajya Sabha polls from Gujarat from where she is already an MP and her term ends on August 18.
Shah at present is an MLA from Gujarat, where BJP has a government.
Their names were announced by senior party leader J P Nadda after the meeting of the party panel.
The terms of nine Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat and West Bengal are ending on August 18. These include Irani, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien.
Out of the 9 retiring members, four are from the Trinamool Congress, two from the Congress, two from the BJP and one from the CPI-M.
The retirement of Ahmed Patel (Cong), Dilipbhai Pandya (BJP) and Irani (BJP) — all from Gujarat — is due on August 18.
The tenure of members from West Bengal — O’Brien (TMC), Debabrata Bandhopadhyay (TMC), Pradip Bhattacharya (Cong), Yechury (CPM), Sukhenduhakhar Roy (TMC) and Dola Sen (TMC) ends on August 18.
Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who has been re-nominated as the partys candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, filed his nomination papers here today.
Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, submitted his nomination to Assembly secretary D M Patel in the presence of Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and state Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot, among others.
State NCP chief Jayant Patel, who is among the two MLAs of the party in Gujarat, and lone JD(U) MLA Chhotu Vasava also remained present as a mark of their support to the Congress in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls, to be held on August 8.
Talking to reporters after filing his papers, Patel expressed confidence that he would win comfortably despite the cross voting episode during the recently-held presidential polls in which at least nine of their MLAs voted for the NDA nominee.
“I have full trust on our MLAs. Cross voting in the presidential polls was indeed worrisome. That is why we are careful this time,” he said.
On the exit Shankersinh Vaghela from the party last week, Patel indicated that there could still be chances of his return to the Congress.
“Vaghela is not unhappy with the party. He only wanted to make the party better and gave some suggestions. I just met him yesterday to arrive at a solution. I will try my best to put forward his suggestions to party high command in the days to come,” Patel said.
Of the total 11 Rajya Sabha members from the state, the term of three- Smriti Irani and Dilipbhai Pandya (both BJP) and Congress Ahmed Patel- is coming to an end on August 18.
The Congress has 57 MLAs in the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly. It needs the support of 47 of them to get its candidate through. The main opposition party also has the support of two NCP legislators and one of the JD(U).
(With PTI inputs)