In a major boost to ‘brand Yogi’ and the Bhartiya Janata Party, its ninth candidate from the state, Anil Aggarwal, defeated Bahujan Samaj Party’s Bhim Rao Ambedkar in a close contest witnessed for the tenth Rajya Sabha  seat from Uttar Pradesh. The win is being seen as a shot in the arm for the BJP which had recently suffered a humiliating defeat in the parliamentary bypolls for Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats. Anil Aggarwal won on the basis of second preference votes.

The coming together of Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party to rout the party, the home turf of  Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and that of his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, respectively, is being seen as a game changer in the polity of Uttar Pradesh. It assumes importance keeping in view the 2019 Parliamentary elections.

The RS results, with Agarwal’s victory, has however put a dampener on the same.

Biennial elections to 10 Rajya Sabha seats were held on Friday. The polling took place in the Tilak Hall of the Vidhan Bhawan. A total of 400 MLAs cast their votes. Two MLAs Mukhtar Ansari and Hari Om Yadav were restrained by the court from exercising their franchise. Another MLA recently died in a road accident.

The BJP won nine seats while the Samajwadi Party one. The Bahujan Samaj Party drew a nought.

The BJP candidates who won are Arun Jaitley, GVL Narsimha  Rao, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakaldeep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav and Anil Aggarwal. The winning SP candidate is Jaya Bachchan.

The outcome of nine seats was more or less pre-determined, keeping in view the strength of the political parties and their alignment to ensure a victory for their respective candidates. It was the tenth seat that was a contentious one and where the BJP defeated the BSP candidate.

The Samajwadi Party with a strength of 47 was assured of a smooth sailing for Jaya Bachchan. The BJP with a total of 324 votes , including 311 of its own party, 10 of the Apna Dal and four of the Suhaldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (its allies) was certain of the victory of eight of its candidates.

However, some opposition MLAs are said to have indulged in cross-voting.

Much before the results were announced, banners and posters congratulating the new entrants to the Rajya Sabha were seen dotting the BJP headquarters here. Supporters of the candidates had also assembled in large numbers outside the Vidhan Bhawan and the BJP office.

Counting of votes came to a halt following a complaint filed with the Election Commission by the BSP. It was alleged that Samajwadi Party MLA Nitin Agarwal and BSP MLA Anil Singh did not show the ballot paper to the polling agents before casting their votes. The BSP wanted both the MLAs to be disqualified. The objections were overruled by the Election Comission. Agarwal and Singh are said to have cross voted in favour of the BJP.  Singh maintained that he had voted in accordance with his conscience while Agarwal said political worker (reference being to his father Naresh Agarwal) was  overlooked.