That politics makes strange bedfellows is an adage well known. As India held elections to 25 seats of the Rajya Sabha on Friday, many examples of the idiom emerged before the people of the country.
One such example was set when Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav thanked Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya for voting for the party’s nominee for the upper house.
The former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh posted a tweet with a photograph of him with the independent MLA from Kunda in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district.
In the tweet, Yadav wrote: “Thank you for supporting Samajwadi Party.”
Thank you for supporting Samajwadi Party. pic.twitter.com/OZve4X1WV3
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) March 23, 2018
Singh had on Friday made it clear that he will stand with SP but will not support the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate even though the change in UP’s political winds have brought the ‘cycle’ and the ‘elephant’ – traditional rivals – on the same path.
Singh reportedly told reporters that he is not bothered about SP and BSP coming together to take on the BJP at the Centre in 2019. The MLA added that his vote will go to Jaya Bachchan, the lone SP candidate for the RS seat.
The Pratapgarh strongman’s animosity with BSP leader Mayawati is known across Uttar Pradesh. In 2002, when the BSP was in power in the state, Mayawati had jailed Singh under Prevention of Terrorist Act (POTA).
In 2003, when Mulayam Singh came to power, all charges against Singh were dropped and he was made a Cabinet minister in the SP government in 2005.
Singh, who has many criminal cases against him, was again made a cabinet minister under Akhilesh Yadav’s government from 2012 to 2017. At the time, Yadav had accused Mayawati of filing false cases against the strongman.
The one vote is crucial for BSP candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar to be elected to the upper house. The contest is for 10 seats. The BJP has fielded nine candidates; eight of them will certainly sail through because of the numbers held by the saffron party in the assembly.
Samajwadi Party has the required numbers to place Jaya Bachchan into Rajya Sabha. The BSP, which has 18 votes, is short of 19 votes which it aims to fill through the surplus votes of the SP, all seven votes from Congress, one from Ajit Singh’s party and two Independents – one of which is Raja Bhaiyya.
Reports say that one BSP leader, Anil Kumar Singh, cross-voted for the BJP making it all the more crucial for Mayawati to have the support of Raja Bhaiya.
The voting process ended at 4 pm today and the results are expected to be out at 5 pm.