Failing to Get RS Renomination, Cong MP Darda Meets Gadkari

Failing to Get RS Renomination, Cong MP Darda Meets Gadkari

Congress MP Vijay Darda, who failed to get party renomination for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls from Maharashtra, today called on senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari at the latter's residence here, raising eyebrows in political circles.

In a surprise move, the Congress high command yesterday declared former Union minister P Chidambaram as the party nominee to the upper house from Maharashtra.

Terms of both Darda and his Rajya Sabha colleague from Congress, Avinash Pande, also from Nagpur, end on July 4.

According to sources, the closed-door meeting between Darda and the Union Shipping and Transport Minister lasted for about an hour.

When asked what transpired between them, Darda merely said, "It was the decision of the Congress high-command to nominate Chidambaram from Maharashtra".

However, he did no elaborate on his future plans.

Biennial elections to 57 seats in the Upper House of Parliament will be held on June 11.

Six of these seats are in Maharashtra with two each held by Congress and NCP, and one each by BJP and Sena.

The retiring Rajya Sabha MPs from the state are Ishwarlal Jain and Praful Patel (NCP), Vijay Darda and Avinash Pande (Congress), Union Minister Piyush Goyal (BJP) and Sanjay Raut (Sena).

Given their current strength in the Assembly, it is highly unlikely either the Congress or the NCP will field more than one nominee. The Congress has 42 MLAs and the NCP 41.

Former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, ex-MP and educationist Bhalchandra Mungekar were also in the race for Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra, but were pipped by Chidambaram.

70-year-old Chidambaram did not contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and his son Karti had unsuccessfully fought from his native Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu.

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