On the last day to file nomination papers for the six Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar, senior BJP leader and Central Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, along with JD-U's Vashisht Narayan Singh and Mahendra Prasad, Congress leader Akhilesh Prasad Singh, and RJD's Ashfaque Karim and Manoj Jha, on Monday completed the formality in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Rabri Devi, and other party leaders.
Earlier, both the parties had announced nominating two candidates - Union ministers Parsho-ttam Rupala and Mansukh Mand-aviya from the BJP, and Naran Rathwa and Amee Yagnik from the Congress. A candidate requires 37 first preference votes for a straight win and the ruling BJP can easily win eight.
Ketkar may well now be haunted by visions of the defection drama that preceded last year's Gujarat Rajya Sabha elections, where Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel just scraped through. Congress party leader and former minister Rajmani Patel too submitted the nomination form. The NDA now has 83 members in the 245 member Rajya Sabha.
Finance Minister Jaitley, a sitting member of the Upper House from Gujarat, was among the 11 BJP nominees who filed their papers from Uttar Pradesh. The Shiv Sena has 63 members which means it has a surplus of 21 votes after it elects one of its candidates. In all, 14 candidates have filed their nominations for election to the 10 seats. A candidate can score a straight win with 38 votes. While the BJP with a strength of 99 legislators in the Assembly can send its two nominees, the Congress with a strength of 77 in the House can also send only two nominees.
In Rajasthan, the BJP got a shot in the arm, with tribal leader and MLA Kirori Lal Meena coming back to the party along with with two National People's Party (NPP) MLAs and filing nomination for the biennial Rajya Sabha elections.
Speaking to reporters, UP Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said, "If you see our list of Rajya Sabha candidates, all the regions have got representation on the basis of merit".
But the BJP has now forced a vote with its last-minute nomination of the state women's commission chairperson, Vijaya Rahatkar, as its fourth candidate.
It was Sonia Gandhi who decided the candidature of Ketkar, a veteran journalist who is not a party member but has been publicly defending the Congress and opposing the Sangh ideology.
All six candidates are contesting without any opposition so their election is a foregone conclusion.
In Haryana, Lt Gen (retd) D P Vats filed his papers as a BJP candidate and looks set to win hands down.