Lucre main decider in biennial elections
NOTWITHSTANDING ASSERTIONS being made to the contrary, biennial elections to 10 Rajya Sabha and 13 Vidhan Parishad seats to be held on March 28, 2006 may upset applecart of political parties and prevailing political equations in Uttar Pradesh.
Hectic lobbying going on for the seats has assumed new dimensions with reports that lure for lucre is going to play a major role in deciding voting pattern. A close contest will, therefore, be witnessed in the elections.
Stakes are going up as round after round of close door meetings take place in the corridors of power. If all goes well and voting takes place in accordance with allocated quota the Samajwadi Party will sail through smoothly at five seats of the Rajya Sabha while the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party will get two seats each. A stiff contest, however, will be witnessed for the 10th seat, involving the third candidate of the BSP, Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Mehmoob Madni and Independent Sudhanshu Mittal.
If prevailing equations give any indication the Congress is virtually out of contest for the Rajya Sabha seat though it has 16 votes. The BSP may also find problems of managing votes for the third seat while the RLD candidate and Mittal will fight for the common votes of independents, unattached BJP members and other smaller players.
As voting for the Rajya Sabha will be open this time (agents of political parties may ask their MLAs to show the ballot or else the Returning Officer will declare their vote invalid) cross voting will be checked to a certain extent. Many MLAs like the BJP’s unattached members may take the risk of disciplinary action against them, as the party whip will not be applicable. There are, however, chances of cross voting to a larger extent for the Vidhan Parishad as there will be no open ballot there.
So there is likely to be a keen contest on the 13th seat of the Vidhan Parishad.
As per the allocated quota the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal combine will get seven seats while the BJP will win three seats. The BSP and the Congress will fight closely for the 13th seat. As the BSP has some commitment in ranks of other parties too (including the BSP rebel group) the Congress will find itself in a tight corner if it fails to moblise any additional votes.
Congress legislature party leader Pramod Tiwari, however, exuded confidence that the party would easily sail through while the BSP and the BJP would fight for the 13th seat. As per the quota, Rajya Sabha candidates will be declared elected on getting 37 votes while 29 votes will be needed for winning the Vidhan Parishad seats.
The situation may change if any candidate gets more than the allocated quota and in such a case the second preference will decide the fate of candidates.