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Upper House in the limelight

political lobbying increases

GET ready for some political battles. The upcoming months of April and June will see 76 members of the Rajya Sabha retiring. The Congress and BJP both have to decide whether they want grassroots, heavyweight political leaders or those who are good at “managing Delhi” only. The first signal of the changing political scenario will be felt when nominated members Mani Shankar Aiyar, Javed Akhtar, B Jayshree, Mrinal Miri and Balachandra Mungekar retire in March. The ministers who will retire this year from the Upper House are YS Chowdhary of the TDP and Nirmala Sitharaman, M Venkaiah Naidu, Piyush Goel, Suresh Prabhu, Chaudhary Birender Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, all from the BJP. Naidu, who is a member from Karnataka, would like to come back from Andhra Pradesh. The total dynamics of the seat arrangement will change in Uttar Pradesh as there are not many MLAs from the BSP and Congress; the SP will get most of the seats. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar will have to take some crucial decisions as his three comrades, Sharad Yadav, KC Tyagi and Pawan Varma, are retiring this year. As per the state arithmetic, the JD (U) can get only two seats so one wonders who will be ejected. The Congress too will be in a spot as its deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, is also retiring from Rajasthan this year. Though Ram Jethmalani is also retiring from Rajasthan, he does not have a chance in the given political set-up. Anand Sharma’s case will be interesting as he is not a mass leader. He spends most of his time attending the Delhi durbar. He is a persona non grata in his own state, Himachal Pradesh, as he is at loggerheads with Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. The Congress has to decide his utility factor. Tough choices ahead.

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