BJP fields 8 candidates for Rajya Sabha polls in UP, avoids replay of 2018
In a surprising move, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced only eight candidates for the November 9 Rajya Sabha (RS) polls from Uttar Pradesh. The decision went against the popular perception that the party would make a bid for a ninth seat also as it did in 2018. The biennial elections will be held for a total of 10 seats from the state.
Two years ago, despite not having the numbers, the party had succeeded in ensuring the win of its ninth Rajya Sabha candidate and stopped the Bahujan Samaj Party nominee from winning.
This time, unless the BJP springs a last-minute surprise by fielding a ninth candidate, its decision would help the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which has fielded a candidate despite not having enough numbers on its own to ensure its victory, political experts said.
Tuesday is the last date for filing nominations for the Rajya Sabha election.
The BJP retained its three sitting Rajya Sabha members from UP – Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, former Ballia MP Neeraj Shekhar, son of late Prime Minister Chandrashekhar and party general secretary Arun Singh – whose term would expire on November 25.
Among others, the BJP settled for former UP minister Haridwar Dubey, three-time MLA Seema Dwivedi, both Brahmins and former director general of police Brij Lal, a Dalit. The line-up includes two OBCs — former Auraiya district chief of BJP Geeta Shakya as well as BL Verma, the current UP BJP vice president and chairman of state construction and infrastructure development corporation limited.
For an outright win, each candidate requires 36 votes. The BJP with 305 lawmakers in the UP assembly is set to ensure the win of eight candidates. It would still have 16 surplus votes left to make a possible bid for the ninth RS seat.
“As of now, there are just 10 candidates in the fray for as many vacancies from UP and unless there is a contest, all 10 would win,” a BJP leader admitted.
“If the BJP does field a ninth candidate, it would mean that the BSP would have to depend on the Congress, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and possibly the Samajwadi Party too for helping its candidate win. Maybe, the party’s move might be aimed at foiling any chance of opposition unity,” said Irshad Ilmi, a veteran journalist.
The BSP has 16 MLAs in the UP assembly against arch rival Samajwadi Party’s 48 MLAs.
“Each candidate would require 36 votes for an outright win,” said an official of the UP assembly secretariat. Thus, apart from BJP that has 305 MLAs in the state assembly and can easily get eight candidates elected, only the SP is poised to ensure the victory of its candidate. The current strength of the UP assembly is 395. Eight seats are lying vacant. Bypolls are scheduled on November 3 for seven of these seats.