Biennial elections to the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh slated for Friday has eventually boiled down to a contest between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and a joint opposition. The latter is leaving no stone unturned for a repeat of the recent Lok Sabha byelections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur where the BJP had to bite the dust at the hands of the Samajwadi Party, which was supported by the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Currently, the BJP is comfortably placed to win eight of these RS seats while the Samajwadi Party is confident of bagging one. It is, however, the 10th seat which is all set to witness a contest and on which the BSP has fielded its candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar.
The contest stems from the fact that the BSP does not have the requisite number of first preference votes which can see its candidate sail through. For this, it is dependant on the SP, Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal.
As the current mathematics stands, a candidate requires 37 votes to be elected to the RS. The BJP has a total of 324 votes, which include 311 of its own party, 10 of the Apna Dal and four of the Suhaldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (its allies). The SP has 47, the BSP 19, Congress 7, RLD and Nishad one each.
With this strength, the BJPs eight and the SPs one –Jaya Bachchan—are assured of a comfortable win.
The BSPs candidate is on a sticky wicket , dependant as he is on other parties for a win and the fact that the BJP has fielded Anil Aggarwal for this seat. This has made a contest inevitable.
BSP president Mayawati is expecting a quid pro quo from the Samajwadi Party for the support extended by her party to the SP candidates in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur elections. She has reportedly told the SP president Akhilesh Yadav to ensure 10 confirmed votes for her party candidate. But with hectic lobbying on in all parties and the possibility of cross-voting not
being ruled out, the outcome of the 10th seat remains any one’s guess.
Mayawati held a meeting of her party MLAs on Thursday to take stock of the situation and ensure that her flock stays intact. Dinner meetings were held by the Samajwadi Party and the BJP as well on Wednesday.
The SP succeeded in roping in independent MLAs Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya and Vinod Saroj in its camp for the dinner. Much happiness was also evident when Shivpal Singh Yadav, with whom Akhilesh Yadav had a running feud in the run-up to the Assembly elections, also attended the SP dinner. There was much speculation that Shivpal would abstain as he was not
present in the morning meeting.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had also thrown a dinner on Wednesday, attended by his party MLAs. The BJP heaved a sigh of relief when its allies, particularly the SBSP, whose leader Om Prakash Rajbhar had been blowing hot and cold as also the Apna Dal members chose to be present.
The BJP candidates are union finance minister Arun Jaitley, GVL Narsimha Rao, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakaldeep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav and Anil Aggarwal.