With the Election Commission announcing the notification for the 57 seats of Rajya Sabha (RS) biennial elections slated to be held on June 10, the spotlight has turned to Uttar Pradesh which will be sending 11 members to the Upper House.
However, unlike previous Rajya Sabha elections, this time the contest is restricted to the ruling BJP and the opposition SP, while the Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party have been relegated to non-players because of their miniscule presence in the state Assembly.
Of the total 403 MLAs in the state Assembly, BJP and its alliance partners, including Apna Dal (S) and Nishad Party, have 273 in Vidhan Sabha.
The SP, along with alliance partners like Rashtriya Lok Dal and Om Prakash Rajbhar-led Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), has 125 seats.
Besides, the Congress has two seats, Raja Bhaiyya-led Jansatta Dal (Loktantrik) two and the Bahujan Samaj Party has one seat.
As per the numbers, the BJP is in a position to win at least eight RS seats, while the SP would stake claim to at least three seats.
For both BJP and SP camp, there are five floating votes of BSP, Jansatta Dal and Congress.
Of these, the BSP and Jansatta Dal are likely to go with BJP.
A candidate will need 37.63 votes for one seat. This means the BJP will require 298.64 votes to win eight seats, around 26 additional votes as it has 273 votes.
So, the second preference vote will also come into play.
Similarly, the SP will require 111. 99 votes for three seats which means that the party can get three seats without much support from alliance partners.
However, this will depend much on how disgruntled SP MLAs like Shivpal Yadav, Azam Khan and his son Abdullah Azam Khan will vote.
Sources said that Azam Khan might ask for his wife Tanzeem Fatima’s seat in Rajya Sabha to put pressure on Akhilesh Yadav.
According to political observers, as these MLAs have strained ties with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav.
Meanwhile, cross-voting in RS cannot be ruled out because the voting in RS poll is a closed one, while for council seats, it is open. The voters need to show their vote before casting it in the council elections.
Sources said that the SP alliance partners, especially RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary, might also put pressure on Akhilesh and demand at least one RS seat.
Similarly, Om Prakash Rajbhar’s move would also be closely watched especially after reports of his hobnobbing with BJP leaders post assembly elections results.
Some of the big names in politics who are retiring form Rajya Sabha include BJP’s Shiv Pratap Shukla, Hari Om Yadav, Surendra Singh Nagar, Sanjay Seth, Jai Prakash Nishad and Zafar Islam.
SP’s Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, Sukhram Singh Yadav and Reoti Raman Singh are also retiring from RS.
BSP’s Satish Mishra is among those who are retiring and all eyes are on how he manages to re-enter the upper house.