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Home > News > Report

Congress lists Rajya Sabha poll candidates

December 28, 2005 00:58 IST

Otherwise detractors, Congress general secretary Ahmad Patel and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit appeared to team up to keep Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Salman Khurshid out of Delhi.

The Congress released its list of Rajya Sabha nominees from the state Tuesday. Former union minister Karan Singh and All India Congress Committee general secretary Janardan Dwivedi were renominated, while the seat with a partial term (vacated by P M Sayeed on his death) was given to former Chandni Chowk member of Parliament J P Aggarwal.

The names were announced after a keen tussle involving seats. As chief of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Karan Singh already had the rank of a Cabinet minister, so by nominating him to the Rajya Sabha, the government appeared to have retained the flexibility of appointing him minister in the forthcoming reshuffle.

Since Janardan Dwivedi's last term in the upper house was a partial one, the party thought he must be given a chance to complete it.

However, the story of how Khurshid got edged out forms the essence of Congress politics. Although otherwise they do not see eye to eye, keeping Khurshid out of Delhi seemed the common aim of both the chief minister and Ahmad Patel.

According to Congress sources, Patel did not want the rise of another young Muslim leader in the party. So till Saturday, 10 Janpath sources said Khurshid was likely to be given the post. But the party changed its mind over the weekend.

Dixit had good reasons to keep Khurshid out of Delhi. The two shared a major political aggravation in the early 1990s when Dixit tried to retain her hold over Kannauj in UP, represented by her husband's family.

This became a matter of rivalry for political influence between Dixit and Khurshid, whose family belonged to the adjoining Farrukhabad district. Although J P Aggarwal was no friend of Dixit's, she supported the candidature of Kapil Sibal from the seat though Aggarwal has retained the seat thrice -- her group thought Aggarwalwould be a better bet than Khurshid.

The official reason to deny Khurshid the nomination was that as chief of the Congress in UP, it would not be seemly for him to seek a seat from Delhi. The net result is that although there are 1.8 million Muslims in Delhi and 1.20 million Sikhs, there is no Congress MP either in the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha representing Delhi's minorities.

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