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Alphons was elected unopposed as the opposition parties did not field a candidate.

Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons was on Thursday elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan on Thursday. 

The seat fell vacant after M Venkaiah Naidu, who was elected as India’s Vice-President, resigned on August 10. 

Alphons was the only candidate in the fray as opposition parties including Congress did not field a candidate. As soon as the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended, state legislative assembly Secretary Prithvi Raj declared him elected.

Alphons had filed his nomination papers in Jaipur on Monday.

Talking to media later, he said that there are vast opportunities in tourism, heritage and wildlife sectors in the state and he would like Rajasthan to be number one in the sector.

"Steps would be taken to invite big companies to invest in tourism sector in the state," he added.

Alphons, in a tweet later, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, MLAs and the state's people for electing him as an MP.

State BJP president Ashok Parnami, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore and Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Arun Chaturvedi, were among those present.

Rebel BJP MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari opposed Alphons’ nomination, alleging that the rights of the State’s party workers had been trampled upon by bringing in a leader from “outside”. 

While the BJP holds eight Rajya Sabha seats now from Rajasthan, Congress holds the remaining two seats. 

Alphons first entered the Kerala Assembly with the support of the LDF in 2006 and joined the BJP in 2011. 

Alphons is the first Minister in the Modi government from Kerala, a state where the BJP does not have a single elected MP and only one MLA. 

A UPSC topper in 1979, Alphons has a strong reputation as an administrator, with many high-profile achievements and decisions to his name. 

(With IANS inputs)