Congress leader Anand Sharma elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha

Sharma was elected from Himachal after the seat fell vacant following the expiration of a BJP MP's term.

Shimla: Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma was on Monday elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh.

The only candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from the state, which fell vacant on the expiry of BJP member Bimla Kashyap's term, Sharma was declared elected by the Returning Officer and Secretary of Vidhan Sabha after the last date for withdrawal was over.

This would be Sharma’s fourth Rajya Sabha term, he was elected to the upper house twice from Himachal Pradesh in 1984 and 2004. In 2010, he was elected from Rajasthan.

Talking to media after his election, he said he was happy to return to the state and would raise all the issues concerning it at the Centre.

"The issue of special category state, share in various projects, release of grants, discrimination against the state by the Centre, connectivity and other issues will be taken up," he said, adding Himachal Pradesh being a hilly state deserves special treatment.

As Deputy Leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha, he said he "would voice my party's concerns over economic situation of the country as merchandise exports have going down by 14 per cent and these was downslide for the 15th month, the value of Rupee has fallen by six per cent, manufacturing and jewellery industry is in bad shape".

He said the country was losing Rs 7,000 crore due to the strike by jewelers and the total loss till date was Rs 84,000 crore, besides rendering thousands of artisans jobless.

Sharma accused the NDA government of damaging the secular fabric of the country by "branding every person who speaks against the government or the RSS as anti-national" and said the government was playing a "dangerous game of polarising the people".

The government is trying to create a communal divide in view of elections in states like West Bengal and Assam, where minorities are in substantial numbers, next month and later elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Referring to the Jat agitation, Sharma said it was badly handled by the Haryana and central governments and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clarify the stand of the government on the issue, especially in the light of statements of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and general secretary Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi, who have advocated reservation only for the poor.

( Source : PTI )
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