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Battlefield UP: With 11 in fray for 10 seats, RS polls will be next keenly watched contest

Sources familiar with the developments said hectic lobbying had already begun and efforts to cut into each other votes are on.

lucknow Updated: Mar 16, 2018 13:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,Rajya Sabha seats,UP
The voting is scheduled on March 23.

With only two out of three extra BJP candidates withdrawing nominations on Thursday, the last date for doing so, a contest for 10 Uttar Pradesh Rajya Sabha seats now seems inevitable.

The voting is scheduled on March 23.

The two BJP candidates who withdrew nominations on Thursday included Vidya Sagar Sonkar and Salil Bishnoi (both UP general secretaries).

Ruling party’s ninth candidate Anil Agarwal is now expected to pose a challenge to BSP’s BR Ambedkar, who is backed by the united opposition.

“As there are still 11 candidates, nine from BJP, one from SP and one from BSP, an election will take place for 10 Rajya Sabha seats here on March 23,” said a senior officer of state Vidhan Sabha.

With contest between BJP nominee and opposition’s joint nominee coming soon after the BJP’s defeat in by-election to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, the biennial election will be keenly watched.

Sources familiar with the developments said hectic lobbying had already begun and efforts to cut into each other votes are on.

“Both the ruling party and the opposition will have to keep a strict vigil over their MLAs to check cross-voting,” said an MLA.

The BJP candidates in fray now include union finance minister Arun Jaitley, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, GVL Narsimha Rao, Harnath Singh Yadav and Anil Agarwal.

The SP’s Jaya Bachchan and BSP’s BR Ambedkar are two other candidates in fray.

The BJP and allies with 324 members in 402 member house can ensure win of eight candidates.

With 37 votes needed to ensure victory of each candidate, BJP will still have 28 extra votes.

The ruling party also has the support of three Independent MLAs, which means that it will have to make inroads into opposition’s camp to mobilise six extra votes for its ninth candidate.

With SP’s outgoing Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agarwal joining BJP in New Delhi on March 12, his son Nitin Agarwal, who is an SP MLA from Hardoi, is likely to vote for BJP candidate.

The Samajwadi Party, with 47 members, after ensuring the victory for its candidate Jaya Bachchan, will have 10 extra votes.

Together with the BSP’s 19 candidates, Congress’ 7, RLD’s 1 and NISHAD Party’s 1 BSP’s BR Ambedkar is also assured of winning. In case, some MLAs switch loyalties, BJP’s ninth candidate Anil Agarwal can upset Ambedkar’s chances of making it to the Upper House.

First Published: Mar 16, 2018 13:04 IST