The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has picked up a woman leader, Indu Goswami as its nominee for one Rajya Sabha seat (out of three) falling vacant in Himachal Pradesh, for which the election is scheduled on 26 March.
Her name figured in the list of party candidates declared by the Central Election Committee of BJP for states of Himachal, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra today.
She will file nomination on 13 March (the last day) and is set to be elected unopposed, with opposition Congress not coming forward to field its candidate.
Goswami will replace Congress leader, Viplove Thakur, who is vacating this Rajya Sabha seat in April month.
Currently, BJP has 44 MLAs in the state Legislative Assembly with 68 members, Congress has 21. There is one CPM MLA and two independent MLAs in HP.
Goswami, 52, belongs to Baijnath in Kangra district and had contested the assembly poll from adjoining Palampur Assembly segment in 2017 unsuccessfully. Baijnath Assembly segment, from where she was denied ticket once in 1998 Assembly by-poll, was reserved in delimitation in 2012.
Goswami remained Chairperson of State Commission for Women in BJP government in the past and was later State Mahila Morcha President, from which she had resigned last year over some issues in the party.
Goswami is tipped to be close to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and it is learnt that her name was added in the panel at the instance of central leadership.
Sources said the state election committee had initially decided on three names, which included two from the organization, Mahender Pandey and Satpal Singh Satti (former BJP President from HP), and third, Kuldeep Chand Agnihotri, Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Himachal Pradesh. However, the central leadership later asked the state BJP to send some names of women and ex-servicemen as well for consideration.
Sources said Indu Goswami’s candidature for Rajya Sabha election comes as a third surprise choice of central BJP in Himachal in past few months, the earlier two being that of state BJP chief, Dr Rajeev Bindal and then Speaker, Vipin Singh Parmar, wherein even CM’s opinion has also not been given precedence.
Two other Rajya Sabha seats from Himachal are held by national BJP President, Jagat Prakash Nadda and former Union minister of Congress, Anand Sharma.
Presently, BJP has four women MLAs in the state Assembly, including one minister, Sarveen Chaudhary.