LUCKNOW Uttar Pradesh is heading for mini-assembly elections of sorts to fill 12 Vidhan Sabha seats that have been declared vacant following the election of 11 MLAs to the Lok Sabha and the disqualification of the BJP’s Hamirpur MLA Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel following his conviction in a nearly 22- year-old murder case.Principal secretary, Vidhan Sabha, Pradeep Dubey said, “Yes, speaker Hridya Narain Dixit has accepted resignations of the MLAs who have been elected MPs and 12 assembly seats have been declared vacant. We have sent the necessary information to the Election Commission in this regard.”The by-elections will have to be held within six months of the seats being declared vacant, according to Constitutional provisions.The stakes will be high for the BJP, which held nine of the 12 assembly seats declared vacant.These nine seats included the ones held by ministers in the Yogi government-turned- MPs Rita Bahuguna Joshi (Allahabad), Satyapal Singh Baghel (Agra) and Satyadev Pachauri (Kanpur).The other MLAs now elected as BJP MPs include RK Singh Patel (Banda), Pradeep Kumar (Kairana), Akshyawar Lal Gaur (Bahraich), Upendra Singh (Barabanki) and Rajvir Singh Diler (Hathras). Apna Dal (Sone Lal) Sangam Lal Gupta (Pratapgarh), Samajawadi Party’s Mohamamd Azam Khan (Rampur) and BSP’s Ritesh Pandey (Ambedkar Nagar) have also tendered their resignations following their election to the Lok Sabha.While the opposition will try to corner the Yogi Adityanath government on various issues, the BJP, which swept the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, would like to continue its winning streak.The BSP that used to stay away from by-elections in the past has decided to contest them on its own this time, after pulling away from the alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).The Congress, which is beginning to review its drubbing in the 2019 polls, may contest the by-poll too.On the other hand, the RLD has given indications of going along with the SP despite the BSP’s break-up with the alliance. So, the BJP is likely to face a divided and demoralised opposition in the by-elections.UP BJP general secretary Vijay Pathak said, “Yes, we will fight the by-elections with all our might. The people of the state liked us despite the SP-BSP-RLD alliance. This alliance proved to be a ‘maha milavati gathbandhan’ and those (BSP) who never fought the by-poll have decided to contest now. Whenever the Election Commission announces the by-elections, the BJP will fight with full force.”After the BSP’s announcement about a break- up with the alliance, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said his party will now contest the by-elections on its own.“We have already begun preparations for the by-poll. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has asked partymen to begin the process for selection of candidates,” said SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary.On the RLD’s observation that it will remain the SP’s partner, Chaudhary said only the party leadership would take a decision on the issue. UPCC president Raj Babbar, however, remained unavailable for comment.