Antony’s Rajya Sabha election in doubt as IUML eyes seat

New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s re-election to the Rajya Sabha from his home state Kerala is in doubt as the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a Congress ally, wants the seat for itself.

The IUML leadership has decided to send a delegation made up of Minister of Stater for Railways E. Ahamed and party leaders P.K. Kunhalikutty, E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP, Abdussamad Samadani and M.K. Muneer to New Delhi to meet Congress leaders including its president Sonia Gandhi.

Rajya Sabha elections in Kerala will be held this month for three seats. Given the composition of the Kerala assembly, the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) is sure to get two seats and the opposition one.

The IUML says it wants Congress backing to win the seat while the Congress, which heads the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala, hopes to get IUML’s support for Antony.

‘There is no question of giving up the Rajya Sabha seat for Antony. Antony is one of the most senior leaders of the Congress. His party can ensure his victory from any other state,’ a party leader told IANS here Thursday.

Alongwith Antony, the League’s Abdul Wahab and the Communist Party of India-Marxist’s (CPI-M) A. Vijayaraghavan are completing their six-year terms in the Rajya Sabha.

‘We won’t give up the seat, which is currently represented by P.V. Abdul Wahab. If the League fails to retain it, the party will lose its representation in the upper house for the first time in 50 years,’ said a League leader on the condition of anonymity.

According to the schedule, the election will be notified March 9, the last date for filing nominations will be March 16 and for withdrawal March 19. The election, if needed, will be held March 26.

The League has two MPs in the Lok Sabha from Kerala – E. Ahamed and E.T. Mohammed Basheer.

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