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Lobbying begins for RS seats in three NE States

By The Assam Tribune

AGARTALA/KOHIMA/GUWAHATI, March 4 (IANS): With the issuance of a statutory notification on Friday for the March 21 elections to four Rajya Sabha seats from Assam, Tripura and Nagaland, lobbying has started in the three states ruled by different political parties.

Elections to a total of 13 Rajya Sabha seats from Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Punjab would be held on March 21.

Officials said the President of India and the Central Election Commission have issued separate notifications for these elections.

In Tripura, the lone Rajya Sabha seat falling vacant is held by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). The term of sitting member Jharna Das (Baidya) ends on April 2.

"The CPI-M Tripura state committee will meet in Agartala on Sunday to finalise its candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat," CPI-M central committee member and state party secretary Bijan Dhar told IANS.

A party source said that though there are several aspirants for the post, Das (Baidya) is likely to be renominated.

In Assam, two Rajya Sabha members of the Congress - Naznin Faruque and Pankaj Bora - whose terms also end on April 2, also are keen for the second terms.

Sources in the ruling Congress said some ministers are engaged in a signature campaign in support of nomination for a serving bureaucrat.

According to a senior Congress leader, those vying for the nomination for the two Rajya Sabha seats include state party president Anjan Dutta, former union ministers Paban Singh Ghatowar and Ranee Narah, Dwijen Sarmah, Kirip Chaliha, Bishnu Prasad and Abdul Muhib Mazumdar.

According to sources, a prominent media baron has also been sending feelers to both the Congress and and All India United Democratic Front led by prominent Muslim leader and trader Badruddin Ajmal.

In Nagaland, the Naga People's Front (NPF), the dominant regional party of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN), has choosen KG Kenye as the party candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat, which fell vacant following the death of Khekiho Zhimomi.

The Nagaland unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is also an electoral ally of the NPF-led DAN government, said it has three candidates willing to contest the solitary seat.

The BJP's Nagaland unit general secretary Eduzu Theluo said his party would also likely field a candidate from among M. Chuba Ao (former state unit president), retired IAS officer HK Khulu and former minister TA Ngullie.

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