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Mallya likely to contest RS poll from Maharashtra
Saubhdra Chatterji | February 26, 2008 10:31 IST
While Dhoot, the Group Managing Director of Videocon [Get Quote], is expected to retain his seat from Maharashtra, there is an interesting twist in the case of Mallya who owns the United Beverages (UB) group.
Mallya won't be able to return to the Upper House from his home state, Karnataka. The Assembly has been dissolved in the state after the BJP and JD(S) failed to seal a deal to form a coalition government last year.
According to sources, Mallya is likely to contest from Maharashtra this time as an Independent. He is in touch with Sharad Pawar's [Images] Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and also Shiv Sena leaders.
Seven seats in Maharashtra will fall vacant on April 2. For his current term too, Mallya stood as an Independent and got support from the HD Deve Gowda-led JD(S) and the BJP in Karnataka. Mallya's term is coming to an end on April 9.
Along with Mallya, three Congress MPs will also end their terms, reducing the strength of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha.
At least one Congress minister is seeking re-election to the Upper House from a state that is not his home state. Minister of State for Personnel and Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachauri's term will also come to an end this April, but the Congress does not have enough MLAs to re-elect Pachauri from his native Madhya Pradesh.
According to party sources, although Pachauri has been appointed the state Congress president recently, he may get a nomination from Rajasthan where the party is in a comfortable position to win one seat.
Unlike Mallya, Rajkumar Dhoot got elected to the Rajya Sabha on a party ticket. The Shiv Sena had made him its candidate and this time Sena chief Bal Thackeray is set to support Dhoot's re-election.
According to a Sena MP in the Lok Sabha, "We don't see any reason why Dhoot should not get a second term from our party".
While in Karnataka the seats will remain vacant till the elections take place according to the newly-delimited constituencies, Maharashtra will witness a high-profile RS battle. The Congress has to re-elect two of its ministers, Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan.
According to sources, former aide of Indira Gandhi [Images], P C Alexander may also try for a second term with the help of Shiv Sena. Finally, if Mallya joins the race from Maharashtra, it will definitely add more colour to the elections.