RS polls: Cong banking on SP, BSP ‘return gift’ for Kapil Sibal’s victory

  • Umesh Raghuvanshi, Hindustan Times, Lucknow
  • Updated: Jun 04, 2016 12:08 IST
Congress candidate Kapil Sibal files nomination papers for Rajya Sabha election at Vidhan Bhawan in Lucknow. (PTI File Photo)

The Congress is banking on the support of the ruling Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to ensure victory of senior leader Kapil Sibal to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh.

Elections for 11 Rajya Sabha seats and 13 Vidhan Parishad seats will be held on June 11. None of the candidates in the fray withdrew their nominations on Friday, the last day.

Sources said that the Congress with 29 MLAs require another five votes to ensure Sibal’s victory. Party leaders are hopeful that the SP and BSP, the two parties it had supported in last year’s Vidhan Parishad elections, will return the gesture by backing Sibal.

Though the SP had earlier promised to support Sibal, BSP chief Mayawati is yet to announce her plans. She is likely to announce her decision on June 4 when she is scheduled to meet the press.

The SP, which has 229 votes, will also need nine additional votes for its seventh candidate. Sources said the party was largely banking on RLD support and leaders of the two parties had met a few days back. However, RLD leader Choudhary Ajit Singh has remained non-committal till now.

The BJP which has 41 MLAs require an additional 27 votes to win their gamble of backing independent candidate Preeti Mahapatra, whose candidature has surprised many in the state.

Sources said it could prove to be tough ask unless the party manages to wean votes of other major parties. The strength of smaller parties -- minus the Lok Dal and independents -- is 16.

“The BJP will have no other option but to indulge in horse-trading or else its nominees will meet the same fate as was meted out to the party’s second nominee in the 2015 Vidhan Parishad elections,” said senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari.

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