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Antony will be elected to RS unopposed

May 24, 2005 23:32 IST

Congress Working Committee member and former Kerala chief minister A K Antony is all set to be elected to the Rajya Sabha unopposed as he was the only candidate to file his nomination for the June 3 byelection from the state.

The opposition Left Democratic Front did not put up a candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat. They apparently wanted to avoid a situation in which legislators loyal to the breakaway National Congress (Indira) would have to vote for Antony on the force of a whip issued by the Congress Legislature Party.

The LDF, with a strength of 40 in the 140-member state assembly, has no chance of getting its own candidate elected, but had till now put up its nominee against the ruling United Democratic Front every time a Rajya Sabha berth was up for grabs.

The Rajya Sabha vacancy was caused by the resignation of veteran leader K Karunakaran who floated the NC(I) early this month, breaking away from the parent party.

Handpicked by the high command, bypassing the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee's list of probable candidates, Antony filed his papers on Tuesday, accompanied by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and leaders of the ruling United Democratic Front partners.

UDF constituent Kerala Congress (M), which had staked its claim for the Rajya Sabha seat, was mollified on the promise that its contention for an Upper House berth will be considered next time.

The scrutiny of nominations will be held on Wednesday.

Antony will be declared elected on the expiry of the deadline for withdrawal of papers on May 27, legislature secretariat sources said.

The choice of the 64-year-old Antony is seen by Congress circles in Thiruvananthapuram as a prelude to his induction in the Manmohan Singh ministry at the Centre.

Dr Singh's ministry does not have any nominee from Kerala other than Indian Union Muslim League's E Ahamed.


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