LUCKNOW: After the Lok Sabha bypolls for Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats, the biennial elections for 10 Rajya Sabha seats will keep the political temperature high in the state. The polls will help BJP jack up its tally in the upper house by at least eight seats. At the same time, it will also test the Opposition's unity.
While Samajwadi Party, on its own strength in UP Assembly with 47 MLAs, can win one seat, the Opposition can foil the ruling party's attempt to grab the 10th seat if they come together.
In all, 58 Rajya Sabha seats are going to the polls across India on March 23. At the maximum, only 10 of them will be falling vacant in UP.
As per the Electoral College in the state Assembly, 37 votes are required for the victory of one candidate. Therefore, the ruling BJP and allies, with 325 members, can easily win eight seats.
The SP, with 47 MLAs, is assured of one seat, leaving the 10th seat wide open. BJP, with 29 spare votes, is within a striking distance to stake claim to this seat. But, a combined Opposition, with SP (10 spare votes), BSP (19 votes) and Congress (7 votes) coming together, can upset the ruling party's plan.
If it happens, it can set a template for Opposition unity for the Vidhan Parishad elections, to be held in May next, and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to take on the saffron party.
Among the 10 RS members retiring this month, six are from SP, two from BSP and one each from BJP and Congress. SP, therefore, is going to be the biggest loser after the elections, as it is sure to lose five of them.
BJP, on the other hand, will be able to win at least seven additional seats, thus consolidating its position in the upper house.
The retiring SP members are Naresh Agarwal, Jaya Bachchan, Kiranmoy Nanda, Munawwar Salim, Alok Tiwari and Darshan Singh Yadav. Similarly, the tenure of BJP's Vinay Katiyar, Congress's Pramod Tewari and BSP's Munqad Ali is also coming to an end.
BSP chief Mayawati was also supposed to retire, quit last year in protest against 'denial of opportunity to raise Dailts' issue in the house'. Both BSP and Congress stand no chance to send even a single member of their own this time.
Meanwhile, BJP camp is abuzz with activity and there is hectic lobbying going on in the ruling party for the candidature to Upper House. The RSS is likely to have a big say in the distribution of tickets. Still, some names, which are doing the rounds, are BJP national general secretary Arun Singh, senior leader Arun Jain, party spokesman and national secretary Sudhanshu Trivedi. While the owner of a national Hindi daily is also in the contention, firebrand leader Vinay Katiyar is hopeful of another term.