Rajya Sabha polls: Shivpal factor may help BJP as party pushes to win extra seat in Uttar Pradesh
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Yadav is likely to break ranks with the Opposition and support the BJP which will contest one more than the 8 Rajya Sabha seats it is certain to win in Uttar Pradesh.india Updated: Mar 13, 2018 23:07 IST
The factional fight in the Samajwadi Party could benefit the BJP in the Rajya Sabha election. The Shivpal Yadav camp was likely to break ranks with the Opposition by backing the saffron party, an SP leader said on Tuesday.
The ruling BJP has decided to contest one more than the eight Rajya Sabha seats it is certain to win in Uttar Pradesh when polling is held on March 23.
“Shivpal and his supporters are likely to go against the wishes of SP president Akhilesh Yadav just the way they did in the presidential election. We expect at least seven leaders to cross-vote in the BJP’s favour,” the leader, who refused to be identified, said.
Shivpal, who is Akhilesh’s uncle, was not available for comments.
Though Akhilesh got the better of his uncle in the war for control of the SP, Shivpal defied the party when leaders close to him successfully supported the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance candidate Ramnath Kovind in the presidential election against the Opposition’s Meira Kumar.
In Uttar Pradesh, a Rajya Sabha candidate needs 37 votes to be elected. The BJP, which has a brute majority in the Vidhan Sabha, is assured of eight seats and the SP one.
The Opposition, including the SP and the Congress, has announced support for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)’s Bhimrao Ambedkar for the 10th seat, which no party can win on its own, but with the BJP entering the contest, Ambedkar’s fate looks uncertain.
The SP will be left with 10 votes after ensuring a Rajya Sabha seat for its candidates. Combined with 19 votes of the BSP, seven of the Congress and one of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the total goes to 37.
The residual votes of the BJP and allies will be 28. There are two Independent votes. If there is cross-voting in the Opposition camp, the BJP could clinch a ninth seat in Uttar Pradesh.
The Shivpal camp has obliged the BJP on more than one occasion.
Prominent SP leaders, including Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant Singh and Sarojini Agarwal, all considered loyal to Shivpal, quit the legislative council, allowing chief minister Yogi Adityanath, his deputy minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and other ministers to get elected from the Vidhan Parishad.
The three former MLCs are now in the BJP.
MLAs Vijay Mishra and Aman Mani Tripathi, who won the 2017 assembly election after Akhilesh denied them tickets, too, are considered close to Shivpal. Aman contested as an Independent and Mishra on the Nishad Party ticket.
Though the Nishad Party was an alliance partner of the SP in Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypoll, it has no control over Mishra, which could work in favour of the BJP.
Along with UP, another 49 Rajya Sabha seats will be voted for on March 23 across several states in a crucial election that will push up the BJP’s tally in the Upper House but not enough to take it past the half-way mark.