SS Ahluwlia is BJP's Rajya Sabha candidate from Jharkhand

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New Delhi:  Setting aside internal differences, BJP today declared S S Ahluwalia - their outgoing Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha - as the party candidate from Jharkhand for the biennial elections to the Upper House.

Ahluwalia, who completed his fourth term as a Rajya Sabha MP on April 2, was earlier denied a ticket by the BJP. He was an MP from Jharkhand in his last term as well.

Earlier, BJP had decided not to put up a candidate from Jharkhand, where it is a part of the ruling coalition headed by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). The latter had fielded Supreme Court lawyer Sanjeev Kumar as its candidate.

The Jharkhand Rajya Sabha polls had run into a controversy last month when Rs 2.15 crore unaccounted for cash was seized from an car belonging to a relative of one of the Independent candidates R K Agarwal. Election Commission had countermanded the elections.

Ahluwalia thanked BJP for "reposing faith in him". Ahluwalia got this opportunity after the BJP did a rethink on the issue when fresh elections were announced by the Election Commission. Polling will be held on May 2 for the two seats from Jharkhand.

Both BJP and JMM have 18 MLAs each while the total votes required for a candidate to win a Rajya Sabha seat from Jharkhand is 27. The coalition also has the support of AJSU, JD(U) and Independents.

It is not clear whether JMM will field a candidate.

Anshuman Mishra, a London-based businessman, had also filed his nomination papers earlier and six BJP MLAs, among others, had supported him then. However, when senior BJP leaders issued directions to party MLAs not to vote for Mishra, he withdrew his nomination.

Yashwant Sinha was the first BJP leader to oppose Anshuman Mishra's candidature. When Mishra started speaking against some of the senior BJP leaders, the anger against him within the party rose. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley even served him a notice threatening to file a defamation suit.

Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav and Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta were among those who requested the Election Commission to cancel the polls in Jharkhand.


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