BJP, SP keep cards close to chest as nominations for RS elections begin
LUCKNOW: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) kept up the suspense, even as nominations to the June 10 Rajya Sabha elections to fill up vacancies from Uttar Pradesh began on Tuesday.
The six-year tenure of 11 RS members from UP would end on July 4 and as part of practice, elections to fill up these vacancies have been announced before that.
The RS polls in UP have essentially boiled down to a contest between these two parties, as the BJP and allies with 273 lawmakers (BJP 255, Apna Dal (Sonelal) 12, Nishad Party 6) and the Samajwadi Party and its allies with 125 lawmakers (SP 111, RLD 8, SBSP 6,) dominate the 403 member UP assembly, members of which vote in the RS polls.
The BJP, which is eyeing eight seats, has decided to send a panel of 20 names for screening by the party leadership.
“Wait for a while,” a BJP leader said when asked when the party would declare candidates. This BJP leader also hinted that the RS candidates, “including some surprises”, would be announced with 2024 Lok Sabha polls in mind.
“A few opposition leaders are also eyeing a BJP RS ticket,” this BJP leader hinted.
The Samajwadi Party, on the other hand, is sure to win three RS seats. After allotting votes for its three RS members, it will still have a few surplus votes left. The party is unlikely to make an attempt for the fourth seat.
Each RS candidate would require around 37 votes for an outright win. “While the SP is unsure of many of its own lawmakers and allies, we are a united block and would definitely win 8 RS seats,” a BJP leader said.
UP accounts for the biggest chunk of 31 of the total 245 Rajya Sabha seats.
SP ally Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) leader Om Prakash Rajbhar has of late made remarks against the SP leadership, leading to speculations on his next move.
Interestingly, Rajbhar had recently met the state’s transport minister Dayashankar Singh with his son. This meeting is significant as in the run-up to the 2022 UP polls too.
It was Dayashankar who had arranged a meeting between Rajbhar and state BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh in a bid to get the SP ally over to their side.
“In the run-up to the 2024 LS polls, you will see we have support all across. There is a long list of leaders who would be interested in supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi yet again,” a BJP leader said. Over the past couple of years in UP, the RS polls have witnessed shifting political loyalties and interesting political manoeuvres. In 2016, for instance, the BJP had queered the pitch by backing a ninth candidate, an independent, whose arrival forced an election. In 2020, a few BSP lawmakers had backed the SP during these elections. At present, of the 31 seats in RS from UP, the BJP has 22, SP 5, BSP 3 and Congress one.
After this poll, the BJP’s strength in RS from UP could rise to 25, while SP would have 5 seats. The Congress won’t have any RS member from UP after July 4.
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