The time comes again, the biannual event when one third of Rajya Sabha members retire by rotation and elections are held where they are replaced by new candidates for a six year term.Here is a look at some of the prominent names that can be nominated again to the Rajya Sabha from the BJP (14 out of the 57 retirees are BJP members) :-
Suresh Prabhu: Suresh Prabhu has filed nomination for Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh. He probably is the most qualified technocrat to be the railway minister (and probably the best till now) , Suresh Prabhu was a chartered accountant by profession (All India 11th rank in the exam) and has held many government and semi government positions. He began his political career from Shiv Sena ,and held various portfolios in the NDA govt (1998-2004) viz Industry Minister, Minister of Environment and Forests, Minister of Fertilizers & Chemicals, Power (for which he introduced many reforms, just like he is doing currently as Minister for Railways), Heavy Industry and Public Enterprises.
He is credited with championing and enacting the Electricity Act of 2003 and the reforms that created securitization of dues from the states. He has been elected four times to the Lok Sabha, India’s parliament, from Maharashtra since 1996.However, he lost his seat in the 2009 general election. In 2014, he quit Shiv Sena (with whom he had had a lot of problems, especially in 2002 when he was made to quit the cabinet even when he was doing well) and joined the BJP and was given the railway ministry. His expertise goes way beyond his chosen field, and he is working on 16 global organizations and 9 strategic dialogues:-
- Global Water Partnership
• GLOBE, UK
• World Economic Forum (WEF)
• Global Industries Council
• UN Advisor
• United Nations Development Program
• United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
• Global Forum For Farmers, President
• Strategic Dialogues
• Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service
• Skolkovo Foundation
• Asia Energy Forum
• United Nations Committee of Biodiversity
• World Federation of UNESCO
He’s associated with the following parliamentary committees:-
- Chairman, Indo – German Parliamentary Forum
• Chairman, Parliamentary Forum on Environment
• Chairman, Parliamentary Maritime Group
• Chairman, Co-operative Forum of Parliamentarians
• Indo – US Parliamentary Forum
• Indo – UK Parliamentary Forum
• Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry External Affairs
• Member, Public Accounts Committee
• Member, Joint Parliamentary Committee to draft Women’s Reservation Bill
• Parliamentary Standing Committee and Consultative committee on Finance
• Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Commerce and Industry • Chairman, forum against fake drugs
• Executive Member of Indo-UK and Indo-EU Japanese Parliamentary Forum
• Member Wildlife first
• Co-Chairman of Indo-Japanese
• Forum of Water
• Chairman Parliamentary Forum on Renewable Energy
• Co-Chairman, Indo-Japan Parliamentary Forum
• Indo-Singapore Public Forum
• Indo-EU Parliamentary Forum
• Member-Core Group-on AIDS
As a railway minister, he has not launched any new trains, but has instead focussed on making the existing infrastructure more modern. He also runs an NGO called Manav Sadhan Vikas Sanstha. His term in RS is coming to an end and its safe to say that he will be nominated again.
Venkaiah Naidu filed his nomination papers from Rajasthan for Rajya Sabha biennial elections. Currently serving as Minister for Parliamentary affairs and Urban development, he has been the party president (2002-04), and was the Minister or rural development in the Vajpayee govt. A lawyer by education, he was an active student leader during his college days and was elected college union president of the Andhra University colleges. He came into prominence with jai Andhra movement in 1972, and two years later became the convener in Andhra Pradesh for JP Narayan’s anti corruption movement. He was jailed during the emergency.
He gained reputation as a leader for farmers and was twice elected to the AP assembly before he was 35. In days when BJP was virtually non existent, especially in the southern part of India, this was no mean feat. He was therefore the party’s most prominent face in Andhra. Unlike many leaders from AP, Kerala, TN or Karnataka, he mastered Hindi for campaigning in north India for the party and to emerge on the national stage. As Minister for Rural Development during the Vajpaye govt, he was known for his aggressive promotion of pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak yojana. His reelection to RS had hit a bump (he has been a candidate from Karnataka ) as Congress leaders in Karnataka called him and outsider (I wonder how much kannada Indira Gandhi knew when she was elected from Chikmanglur in 1980) and will now be a candidate from Rajasthan.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi:
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Filed Nomination For Rajya Sabha Seat From Jharkhand. One of BJP’s oldest Muslim faces (along with Shahnawaz Hussain), he has been the spokesperson of the party from time to time, and has countered Congress’s claims of Muslims not finding any place in BJP from time to time.
MJ Akbar filed Nomination For Rajya Sabha Seat From Madhya Padesh. A leading journalist, he founded the Sunday Guardian and Asian Age (First Indian daily with an international edition), and has been associated with leading media publications , which includes India Today, Headlines Today, The Telegraph, Deccan Chronicle. He began his career as a trainee in 1971 with The Illustrated Weekly of India and later joined the Anand Bazar Patrika Group, running its daily The Sunday, which fought the emergency and spawned a new group of journalists in years to come. In 1982, he founded The Telegraph, considered by many as the first modern Indian newspaper.
He entered politics by contesting on a Congress ticket from Kishanganj (Bihar) in 1989, which he lost in 1991 elections. He was a spokesperson to the late PM Rajiv Gandhi, and later joined as an advisor in HED ministry. He quit politics in Dec 1992 to return to journalism and in 1994 founded The Asian Age and, in collaboration with The Deccan Chronicle, The International Herald Tribune. In 2005, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia appointed him as a member of the committee to draft a ten-year charter for Muslim nations on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. He was removed from The Asian Age by the board in 2008. He joined BJP in Mar 2014 and was appointed its national spokesperson.
Vinay Sahastrabuddhe filed nomination for Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. Though not a full time politician, he remains an essential part of the BJP think tank and strategists and is the national vice president of the party. He started his career in ABVP, and later on was a senate member in Mumbai University (He is awarded PhD for his doctoral thesis on “Political Parties as Victims of Populism and Electoral Compulsions; A Quest for Systemic Solutions – With special reference to India) . He led the Indian Voluntary Organization Mission to Afghanistan in 2002. He also serves as Vice-Chairperson of Indian Social Responsibility Network (ISRN). He has authored various works in English and Marathi, notably Nivadak Manoos.
Nirmala Sitharaman filed her nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka. She is the most recognised face of BJP from Tamil Nadu, and is the incumbent Minister of State for Commerce and Industry. A fairly new entrant to the party, she has made giant strides since she came to Sushma Swaraj’s notice during her stint in NCW during 2003-05. She was made one of the six party spokespersons by Nitin Gadkari. Like Venkaiah Naidu, she remains one of the few leaders in southern India with a good command over Hindi. She played an important role in projecting Narendra Modi as PM candidate.
Birender Singh filed his nomination papers from Haryana for Rajya Sabha polls. He joined the BJP after being in the Congress for 42 years, resigning from his Rajya Sabha seat. He currently holds the portfolio of rural development, Drinking Water and Panchayati Raj in the Modi govt.
Piyush Goyal filed nomination for Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. The erstwhile national treasurer of BJP, he is the incumbent Minister for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy. He headed the BJP’s Information Communication Campaign Committee and oversaw the publicity and advertising campaign of the party including the social media outreach for the Indian General Elections 2014. His father, the Late Ved Prakash Goyal was Minister of Shipping in Vajpayee govt and treasurer as well. He has a very impeccable academic record (all-India second rank holder Chartered Accountant and second rank holder in Law in Mumbai University.
He has participated in Leadership Programs at Yale University (2011), Oxford University (2012) and Princeton University (2013) and is currently pursuing the Owner / President Management (OPM) Program at Harvard Business School.) And professional record (Served on Board for SBI and Bank of Baroda, advised corporates on management strategy and growth). But along with that he is involved with NGOs in diverse fields such as tribal education and welfare for the physically challenged. With a nearly three decade old political career, he has had various stints across all fields viz member of the Standing Committee on Finance and the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Defence, serving in national executive , heading the task force for river linking, having a key role in election strategy since all elections from 2004 for the party.