New Delhi: Among seven union ministers retiring from the Rajya Sabha over the next three months, five are set to return to the upper house, while two are facing opposition within the party.
Among the two are Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, informed sources told IANS.
Those retiring between June to August, other than Naidu and Sitharaman, are Power Minister Piyush Goyal, Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
The six are from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
The seventh minister to retire from Rajya Sabha, is Y.S. Chowdary, Minister of State for Science and Technology and Ministry of Earth Science, who is from ally Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
A total of 53 members, including Janata Dal-United leaders Sharad Yadav, K.C. Tyagi, BJP leaders M.J. Akbar, Anil Madhav Dave, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, are retiring from Rajya Sabha over the next three months.
Naidu, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, is retiring in June. He is seeking a fourth term in the upper house, which is rare in the party.
According to sources, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and some leaders in the BJP are not in favour of giving another term to Naidu, and feel someone new should be given an opportunity.
"There is a precedent in the party not to give more than two terms in Rajya Sabha, but Naidu was given a third term last time," a senior BJP functionary told IANS.
Sitharaman's renomination is being opposed by one of the union ministers who was once very close to her.
However, her work as minister has been widely appreciated.
Sitharaman is presently a Rajya Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh, where four seats are falling vacant.
However, a final decision on these two leaders will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
TDP leader Y.S. Chowdary is likely to make a comeback to the upper house.
Piyush Goyal, a Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra, is likely to return to the upper house from Rajasthan, where four seats are falling vacant and are coming in the BJP quota.
In Rajasthan, two candidates will be decided by the state unit and the remaining two by the BJP central leadership.
Suresh Prabhu, who is in the upper house from Haryana, is likely to return from Maharashtra this time.
Six seats are falling vacant from Maharashtra, where the BJP will get four berths.
Birendra Singh, currently serving as Rajya Sabha member from Haryana, is likely to return from the state, where the BJP is in power. Two seats are falling vacant from the state.
Naqvi is likely to return to the upper house from Uttar Pradesh, from where BJP can send only one member.
(Brajendra Singh can be reached at email@example.com)