THE selection of Rajya Sabha candidates by the BJP has bewildered many in the ‘saffron-camp’. The BJP has even accommodated politicians who were persona non grata for the RSS. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah seem to have selected candidates as per the latter’s utility as a politician. Also, many were surprised when RSS’ prominent face Ram Madhav’s name was not in the list whereas an unknown face like Anil Baluni from Uttarakhand scored a position in the Upper House. Baluni was once a stringer to minor newspapers like Kuber Times and JVG Times. With time, both the newspapers shut down and Baluni began visiting the BJP and RSS’ Delhi offices. Here he came in touch with Sunder Singh Bhandari. When Bhandari became the Governor of Gujarat, he made Baluni his Officer on Special Duty. This was sometime around 2001. It was the same time when Modi took over as Gujarat Chief Minister. Baluni then played a role of the medium of communication between Modi and Bhandari. Unfortunately, Bhandari passed away and a grieved Baluni reached out to Modi. Modi then appointed Baluni as the spokesperson of Uttarakhand BJP. When Modi came to power at the Centre, Baluni too emerged as the national spokesperson of the BJP. Modi, it is known, never forgets his trusted aides and as a testimony to that, Baluni was obliged with a Rajya Sabha seat. In an aside, veteran leader of Uttarakhand BC Khanduri must be bemused to see Baluni’s rise, a man he snubbed when he was the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.