Buzz over four RS members from UP cosying up to BJP
At least four Rajya Sabha MPs belonging to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are talking to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership, two people aware of developments said. If the MPs cross over, the BJP tally will go up in the Upper House where the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) still lacks a majority.
All four MPs are from Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP has two-thirds majority in the assembly and can win all bypolls to Rajya Sabha seats. The SP has 12 MPs and the BSP 4 in the current Rajya Sabha.
“There have been some talks with these MPs but they haven’t reached a conclusion yet,” the first person said on condition of anonymity. “These MPs are not inspired by the leadership of their party and want to explore other options,” the second leader said, requesting not to be named.
The BJP won 62 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 Lok Sabha seats in the April-May general elections despite an alliance between the SP and BSP and polled 49.56% votes. “There is also confusion in the SP and BSP after the latter’s decision to end the alliance immediately after the Lok Sabha defeat. It benefits us,” the second leader said.
On Monday, SP leader Neeraj Shekhar resigned from the Rajya Sabha and joined the BJP the next day. Four Telugu Desam Party MPs from Andhra Pradesh and one Indian National Lok Dal MP from Haryana joined BJP in June. The BJP is the largest party in the Upper House with 78 MPs, and it can hope to improve its tally by one when the bypoll for the seat vacated by Shekhar is held. The ruling National Democratic Alliance has 13 MPs from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam; six from the Janata Dal (United); and three each from the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal. BJP allies Asom Gana Parishad, Bodoland People’s Front, Naga Peoples Front, Republican Party of India (A) and Sikkim Democratic Front have one MP each. This takes the NDA’s tally in the 240-member Rajya Sabha to 108.