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Political dinners to add spice before upper house election

Lobbying has intensified for the Rajya Sabha election with the respective camps planning dinner meetings, people familiar with the developments in the parties said.

lucknow Updated: Mar 21, 2018 12:24 IST
HT Correspondent
The Samajwadi Party has already sent out invitations for a dinner at a luxury hotel in Lucknow on Wednesday.
The Samajwadi Party has already sent out invitations for a dinner at a luxury hotel in Lucknow on Wednesday.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Lobbying has intensified for the Rajya Sabha election with the respective camps planning dinner meetings, people familiar with the developments in the parties said. Polls to 10 Rajya Sabha seats from UP are scheduled on March 23 along with 48 seats elsewhere in the country.

The Samajwadi Party has already sent out invitations for a dinner at a luxury hotel in Lucknow on Wednesday, they said.

Upbeat after the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypoll victories, the SP is going full throttle to prevent any cross-voting against its candidate Jaya Bachchan and Bahujan Samaj Party nominee Bhimrao Ambedkar whom the SP is supporting.

The SP’s Gauriganj (Amethi) MLA Rakesh Pratap Singh said: “All the SP MLAs, MPs (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha), all the party MLAs, former ministers, independent MLAs and allies Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaiya and Vinod Saroj have been invited. I have personally given invitations to Netaji (SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav), Ramgopal Yadav, and other senior leaders, including the party RS candidate Jaya Bachchan ji.” Singh said he was hosting the dinner.

Singh also said: “I am hosting it (the dinner) to celebrate the party victory in the bypolls if the guests discuss the RS poll or any other subject, it’s up to them.”

Singh confirmed he had met party MLA Shivpal Yadav.

He quoted Shivpal as saying, “It’s 99% certain that I will attend.”

Earlier, a March 15 tweet by Shivpal had triggered speculation that he might vote for the SP candidate and the SP supported BSP nominee for the RS polls unlike what he and his supporters did in the presidential polls. Shivpal had defied the party whip and voted for NDA candidate Ramnath Kovind.

The SP has fielded only one candidate Jaya Bachchan. The SP, the BSP, the Congress and the RLD are supporting the BSP’s lone candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar.

Nine BJP candidates remain in the fray though it has the votes to ensure the victory of eight of its nominees. The party had sprung a surprise by fielding 11 candidates at one stage but later withdrew two of them.

The BJP’s moves had led to Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav alleging that the ruling party was promoting corruption and horse-trading.

YOGI’S DINNER

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath will also hold a dinner meeting of all party lawmakers as well as all the nine BJP Rajya Sabha candidates at his official 5 Kalidas Marg residence on Wednesday.

At the dinner meeting, Adityanath is expected to fine tune the party’s strategy for the Friday vote.

CONGRESS WHIP

The Congress that had announced support for the BSP candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar, on Tuesday issued whip for the party MLAs to support him. polls.

BSP MEETINGS

The BSP MLAs are meeting regularly under the chairmanship of legislature party leader Lalji Verma to discuss the strategy for the victory of party candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar.

The final meeting will be held under the chairpersonship of the BSP chief Mayawati on Thursday, the day before the polls.

The BSP has 19 MLAs and has been assured support from the SP, the Congress and the RLD.

On March 4, Mayawati made it clear the BSP had reached a tacit understanding with the Samajwadi Party for the Lok Sabha by-polls, biennial election to Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Council election.