Rajya Sabha election will test Opposition unity in Uttar Pradesh
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Rajya Sabha election will test Opposition unity in Uttar Pradesh

Going by the numbers in the state assembly, Opposition unity in Uttar Pradesh will face a test in the Rajya Sabha biennial election if the BJP decides to field its ninth candidate for the 10 upper house seats, for which voting will be held on March 23.

lucknow Updated: Mar 07, 2018 13:51 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Rajya Sabha,Uttar Pradesh,BJP

Going by the numbers in the state assembly, Opposition unity in Uttar Pradesh will face a test in the Rajya Sabha biennial election if the BJP decides to field its ninth candidate for the 10 upper house seats, for which voting will be held on March 23.

Although the nomination process began here on Monday, no one filed papers on the first day, said a Vidhan Sabha official associated with the poll process.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has extended support to Samajwadi Party (SP) candidates in the by-election to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats. BSP chief Mayawati had said on Sunday that there was a tacit understanding with the SP for the Rajya Sabha and the Vidhan Parishad elections. She had said the SP would support the BSP candidate in the Rajya Sabha election while the BSP will back the SP in the forthcoming Vidhan Parishad biennial poll.

The BSP chief also spoke about a quid pro quo offer to the Congress and said if it supported her party candidate in Rajya Sabha poll in UP, the BSP will back the Congress nominee in Madhya Pradesh.

A scrutiny of the strength of the political parties in the 403-member state assembly indicates a winner will need 37 first preference votes. (The effective strength of the assembly has been reduced to 402 after the death of BJP member Lokendra Singh in a road accident on February 21).

The BJP and its allies with 324 members will clearly win eight out of the 10 seats, going by the strength of the parties in the house.

The Samajwadi Party, which has 47 members in the state assembly, will bag one seat.

Besides, the BSP with 19 members, the Congress with seven, the Rashtriya Lok Dal and the NISHAD Party with one each, along with 10 spare SP votes, will be able to win the 10th seat , if they join hands.

The NISHAD party is also supporting the SP candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-polls. Its national president Sanjay Nishad has announced support to the SP candidate in the Rajya Sabha poll as well.

Under such a scenario, the BJP with a considerable chunk of surplus votes, may spoil the opposition’s game plan by fielding its ninth candidate and bringing the Opposition to a test.

The fight for the 10th seat between the BJP and the Opposition may trigger cross-voting and make the role of three the independents crucial.

On whether the BJP will field a ninth candidate to make inroads into Opposition’s ranks, UP BJP general secretary Vijay Pathak said: ““We are considering all the possibilities and will take a decision strategically. It is for the opposition parties to take a decision about fielding their candidates. There is nothing like unity in the Opposition ranks. It is only a trade-off between them for personal gains.”

As for the Congress, its legislature party leader Ajay Kumar Lallu said, “The Congress high command will take a decision on the issue.”

Nine of the 10 seats will fall vacant on April 2. The other vacancy was caused by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati’s resignation from the Rajya Sabha in July last year.

Those whose term comes to an end on April 2 include the Samajawadi Party’s Jaya Bachchan, Naresh Agarwal, Kiranmoy Nanda, Darshan Singh Yadav, Munawar Salim and Alok Tiwari, the BJP’s Vinay Katiyar, the BSP’s Munquad Ali and the Congress’s Pramod Tiwari.

First Published: Mar 07, 2018 13:51 IST