news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute| November 7, 2014 | 9.05 pm IST Congress leader and chairman of the Scheduled Castes Commission P.L. Punia Friday filed his nomination papers for the Nov 20 Rajya Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh. He was flanked by Rajya Sabha member Pramod Tiwari, Congress general secretary Madhusudan Mistry and Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Nirmal Khatri at the time of filing papers. Punia is a retired Dalit Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and has served as principal secretary to both Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati when they were heading the state. After falling out with Mayawati over the Taj trapezium scandal, Punia joined the Congress and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Barabanki in 2009. He lost to a BJP candidate this time round. A Dalit, he found last-minute favour with the Congress high command which announced his name as the lone candidate from Uttar Pradesh for the upper house. A Congress legislator had Thursday raised the banner of revolt against Punia's candidature and shot off a terse letter to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi even suggesting that the state unit of Congress merge with the Samajwadi Party (SP) which is supporting Punia's candidature. The Congress has 28 legislators in Uttar Pradesh. With the support of Rashtriya Lok Dal's eight, Punia will require backing of one more legislator for his entry into the upper house, which is likely to come from the Samajwadi Party. IANS

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