BJP adds dramatic twist to Rajya Sabha elections by adding fourth candidate

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"The BJP, which has 122 MLAs, is barely in a position to get three candidates elected but the fourth has been brought in with a sinister design", a Congress source said.

Vats here yesterday filed his nomination papers for the seat being vacated by Congress member Shadi Lal Batra.

Answering a query on BJP President Dharamlal Kaushik purchasing nomination form even before party announcing candidatures, the Chief Minister said it was basically a goof-up. L.Hanumanthaiah, Syed Naseer Hussain and G.C. Chandrashekar-for the 23 March Rajya Sabha elections from Karnataka in what seems to be a carefully planned caste balance strategy from the party. However, the BJP later made a decision to drop Ms Rahatkar from the election race.

Rejecting the BJP's allegations, Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, who was present on behalf of the party during the scrutiny process, said that Rathwa, who has not been a minister since 2009, has submitted "notarised" certificates.

Earlier in the day, Suresh Angadi, whip of BJP Parliamentary Party in Gujarat, in a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, alleged that clearances from seven different departments were given to Rathwa in under 50 minutes that enabled him to file his nomination. "Hence, we fielded Kirtisinh Rana as the third candidate with party's mandate", Patel added.

Later, Anil Agarwal reached the state assembly premises as the ninth candidate of the BJP and filed his papers.

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He has also served as the chairman of the Haryana Public Service Commission between May 2011 and April 2012 under the Bhupinder Singh Hooda-led Congress government.

The BJP has fielded an additional Rajya Sabha candidate in Maharashtra, signalling what the Congress fears are potential problems for its nominee Kumar Ketkar who should otherwise have been elected unopposed.

The Returning Officer also accepted the nomination of second official Congress candidate Ami Yagnik. Returning officer for the election said, "All the nominations will be scrutinised and cleared by Tuesday afternoon".

A delegation of senior party leaders, including Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Piyush Goyal, went to the Commission tonight, seeking action against Rathwa and P K Valera, a Congress-backed independent candidate. The BJP fielded senior leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and Vaghani to ensure the rejection of Rathwa's nomination.

On Wednesday, the day for withdrawal of nomination, the BJP will officially withdraw Rahatkar from the fray.