Journalists Chandan Mitra and Tarun Vijay were on Friday nominated by BJP as its candidates in the Rajya Sabha biennial elections but suspense remained over the fate of yesteryear actress Hema Malini. While Mitra was nominated from Madhya Pradesh for a second term, Vijay, one of the new spokespersons of the party, was named from Uttarakhand, where also BJP runs a government.
The names of sitting member Najma Heptullah and former MP Hema Malini also came up for discussion at a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board but they did not make it to the list. Heptullah's term ends next month. Party sources said they could be accommodated in the next list as they were yet to decide on three seats -- one each in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Orissa.
The party named Anil Madhav Dave from Madhya Pradesh and V P Singh from Rajasthan. Dave was elected to the Rajya Sabha in a bypoll last year and the party decided to send him again to the Upper House. V P Singh has represented Bhilwara in the Lok Sabha.
BJP had plans to nominate former Uttarakhand Chief Minister B C Khanduri for the Rajya Sabha polls. But since the party enjoys a thin majority in the state assembly, it was decided against sending a sitting MLA to Parliament, sources said. The Parliamentary Board has authorised party chief Nitin Gadkari to decide on the candidates and hold alliance talks with other political parties.
It is learnt that the name of eminent lawyer and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani, who had recently expressed willingness to join BJP and represent it in Rajya Sabha, also came up for discussion.
But his entry into BJP and candidature are said to have been opposed by some sections he had contested against Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Lucknow in the 2004 elections and had argued in Rajya Sabha that Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's death sentence should be commuted to life imprisonment. PTI