New Delhi: Setting aside internal differences, the BJP on Thursday declared SS Ahluwalia - its outgoing Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha - as the party candidate from Jharkhand for the biennial elections to the Upper House.

Ahluwalia, who completed fourth term as a Rajya Sabha MP on April 2, was denied a ticket by the BJP despite being an effective Deputy Leader of the party. He was MP from Jharkhand in his last term as well.

BJP had decided not to put up a candidate from Jharkhand where it is a party of the ruling coalition headed by JMM. The latter had fielded Supreme Court lawyer Sanjeev Kumar as its candidate.

Ahluwalia thanked BJP for reposing faith in him.

Both BJP and JMM have 18 MLAs each while the total votes required for a candidate to win a Rajya Sabha seat from Jharkhand is 27. The coalition also has the support of AJSU, JD(U) and Independents.

The RS re-poll will be held on May 3 and the counting of votes will be done on the same day in the evening.

Earlier, RS polls for two seats were held on March 30. The Election Commission cancelled the polls to the Upper House following reports of horse-trading and exchange of money for votes. The poll was countermanded as the I-T authorities seized Rs. 2.15 crore in cash just a few hours before the beginning of polling. The cash was seized from brother of an independent candidate RK Agarwal during the RS poll.

The RS poll notification was issued on Monday. As per the notification, April 23 is the last date for filing of nomination papers. On April 24, the papers will be examined. April 26 is the last date for withdrawal of candidature.

The election is caused by the retirement of former RS members Surendrajeet Singh Ahluwalia and Mabel Rebello on April 2.

It is not clear whether JMM will field a candidate. Anshuman Mishra, a London businessman, had also filed his nomination papers earlier and six BJP MLAs, among others, had supported him then. However, when senior BJP leaders issued directions to party MLAs not to vote for Mishra, he withdrew his nomination.