Luncheon meets, gala dinners set the menu for Rajya Sabha elections
Irrespective of which side they belonged to, lawmakers in Uttar Pradesh were much sought after by their respective parties as well as by their rivalslucknow Updated: Mar 23, 2018 13:27 IST
A tea party for BJP MLAs at the residence of chief minister Yogi Adityanath, a luncheon meet for Congress, a get-together for the BSP and a lavish dinner for the SP were on the menu of parties which indulged in hectic lobbying on the eve of Rajya Sabha elections.
Irrespective of which side they belonged to, lawmakers in Uttar Pradesh were much sought after by their respective parties as well as by their rivals.
Fresh from its stunning by-poll victory in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha constituencies, the Samajwadi Party had the most varied menu for lawmakers – a mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare at a five star hotel for the second consecutive day.
“The non-vegetarian fare was to cater to the sensibilities of Muslim lawmakers but we had an elaborate ‘phalahari’ food for those observing nine-day Navratri fast,” an SP leader said.
The Congress’s luncheon meet at a hotel in Gomti Nagar was a simple affair attended by UPCC president Raj Babbar, party leaders Pramod Tiwari and PL Punia, among others.
The Congress luncheon meet had a surprise guest – BSP general secretary SC Mishra – who broke bread with the Congressmen indicating the new-found bonhomie among the opposition parties.
After Wednesday’s dinner, the BJP got its MLAs as well as its allies together again at the CM’s residence over high tea.
BJP general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal and other leaders were seen telling party MLAs how Rajya Sabha election was different.
“Among other things, he (Bansal) asked us not to talk while in the queue for voting and not to discuss our votes before the election,” a BJP lawmaker said.
The BJP has 311 MLAs but along with its allies, SBSP (4) and Apna Dal (9), the party is assured of the support of 324 MLAs in the election that is based on proportional representation through single transferable vote (STV).
Union minister Piyush Goel also attended the meeting.
“Makeshift polling booths were set up where party MLAs carried out a rehearsal of the voting process,” a party leader said adding the BJP didn’t want to take a chance in the high stake election.
“The Rajya Sabha elections are based on preferential pattern where in the absence of a clear cut winner, the second preference votes also come into play,” said Athar Siddiqui of the Centre of Objective Research and Development.
SP MLA Nitin Agrawal and independent lawmaker Amanmani Tripathi were also spotted at the BJP do.
After meeting SP MLA Shivpal Yadav, Nishad Party MLA Vijay Mishra announced his plan to vote for the BJP. “Shivpalji is like a family member but I have decided to vote for the BJP,” Mishra said.
“We have worked out our calculations,” a BJP MLA said without disclosing the party’s strategy.