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Rane, Ketkar file nominations for Rajya Sabha polls

Former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane and senior journalist Kumar Ketkar were among the four candidates who today filed their nominations for March 23 biennial elections for six Rajya Sabha seats from the state.

The election for the six seats was expected to be unopposed but the BJP fielded Maharashtra State Commission for Women chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar, taking up the number of candidates in fray to seven.

March 15 is the deadline for withdrawal of papers, a Vidhan Bhawan official said.

Union minister Prakash Javadekar and sitting Rajya Sabha members Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) and Vandana Chavan (NCP) filed their papers last week.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis accompanied Rane and former Kerala BJP president V Muraleedharan when they filed their nomination papers at the Vidhan Bhawan.

Rane quit the Shiv Sena in 2005 and later joined the Congress. He ended his over-a-decade-long association with the party in September last year, formed the Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksh, and allied with the BJP-led NDA.

Ketkar, a regular on TV news debates, filed his papers in the presence of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Chavan.

The ruling BJP is set to increase its tally from Maharashtra in the Rajya Sabha and also in the state Legislative Council, given its improved strength in the 288-member Legislative Assembly post the 2014 polls.

At present, the opposition Congress and the NCP hold two seats each, while the Shiv Sena and the BJP have apiece each of these six seats of the Upper House of Parliament.

The BJP, with its tally of 122 in the Assembly, is poised to get three Rajya Sabha seats now, while the Sena, the Congress and the NCP will get one each.

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