At a time of political flip-flops and rebellions, nothing is being left to chance in the Rajya Sabha poll. Senior leaders of all major political parties have been asked to keep a close watch on the votes of legislators for election to the 11 seats from UP on Saturday.
The directive comes even though it is mandatory to reveal the ballot in the Rajya Sabha, unlike the secret ballot in the Vidhan Parishad.
“Showing the vote before putting in the ballot paper is mandatory in the Rajya Sabha election. So, no MLA is allowed to cast his ballot without showing it,” said senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Ambika Chaudhary.
Particular attention would be paid to the MLAs whose activities have been suspicious and are believed to have switched loyalties in Friday’s Vidhan Parishad poll. As reports about possible cross-voting in the Vidhan Parishad elections reached the top party bosses, they went into a huddle and convened a meeting to communicate the “show your vote mantra” to their legislators.
“We have communicated this to all our MLAs and the party’s polling agents will keep a watch,” said Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has 12 surplus votes, and all eyes would be on the party in view of the refusal of its leaders to declare their strategy for transfer of these votes. It has 80 MLAs, but needs just 68 votes for its two candidates to win.
The SP, on the other hand, has 229 members, but needs 238 votes for its seven candidates to win. However, this may not be difficult as it already has been promised the support of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, some smaller parties and independents.
Congress has 29 MLAs, but its candidate got only 26 first-preference votes in the Vidhan Parishad election on Friday. It needs at least eight more votes, which it hopes to get from the BSP.
The BJP, with 41 MLAs, will only be able to transfer seven votes to Preeti Mahapatra, an independent candidate backed by it. Although the party has the support of the four MLAs who proposed her name, mobilising 23 more votes appears to be a greater challenge, particularly after its strategy failed in the Vidhan Parishad election.