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Four in RS poll fray likely

New Delhi, Jan. 17: The stage is set for a four-pronged battle for the two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand that goes to polls on February 7.

While Independent Parimal Nathwani, associated with Reliance Industries, is likely to contest for a second term, BJP has hinted that it would like to replace its lone Rajya Sabha member from the state, J.P.N. Singh.

This time, Nathwani is slated to contest as a regional party nominee. “I think my tenure has been quite satisfactory in the last six years and that’s why I am seeking a second term. Though I am yet to talk to parties about the elections, I am planning to take the help of regional parties in particular,” he said.

Nathwani acknowledged that during his term in Jharkhand JVM chief Babulal Marandi and AJSU helped him a lot. “Jharkhand, which I consider as my karmabhoomi, has given me a lot. I, in turn, have given a lot to it,” he said.

The last time, almost all parties, except for the BJP, had backed Nathwani’s candidature. Both Congress and JMM, however, are set to field their own candidates this time for the two seats.

“The Congress and the JMM will field candidates and we will try to win both seats. The names proposed by the state unit include Manzoor Ahmad Ansari, Alamgir Alam and Furkan Ansari. Now, senior leaders in Delhi will take a call,” said a Congress leader.

The BJP, on the other hand, is not sure about retaining its seat from Jharkhand. “If the numbers are taken into consideration, the BJP will find it difficult to hold onto its seat. In the 82-member Assembly, the BJP has 18 MLAs while the ruling alliance of the JMM, Congress and RJD has 45 MLAs,” pointed out a source.

Senior BJP leaders said they were yet start work on the Rajya Sabha elections.“We have not decided anything on the issue. But definitely we will field our candidate and the name is yet to be finalised,” he added.

Of the six Rajya Sabha seats in the state, the Congress has two while the BJP, the JMM and the Trinamul Congress (TMC) have one each, besides an Independent.

Though K.D. Singh had won the election on a JMM ticket, he later joined Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC.