LUCKNOW: In a big relief to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which has been grappling to muster support for its lone Rajya Sabha candidate even after entering a barter deal of mutual support with SP, the Congress has decided to back Bhimrao Ambedkar of blue brigade on Saturday.
“We have decided to support BSP candidate in upcoming RS polls as we do not want the BJP to win an extra seat. Since our main agenda is to defeat the communal forces, our MLAs (7) will vote in favour of BSP candidate,” Congress
Legislature Party leader Lallu Singh adding that the decision to that effect was taken at a high-level meeting of senior party leaders.
Interestingly, while clinching the ‘give and take’ deal with Samajwadi Party, BSP chief Mayawati had offered a quid pro quo to the Congress as well. She had promised the support of her MLAs to Congress candidate in Madhya Pradesh if Congress would back her party’s candidate with their seven votes in UP. Now with Congress support, the BSP candidate will be able to sail through. As per the latest arithmetic of votes, Samajwadi Party has total 47 MLAs in UP Assembly of 403. After ensuring entry of its candidate Jaya Bachchan to the upper house, SP will be left with 10 spare votes. BSP has 19 MLAs and Congress seven. Added to BSP’s tally of 19, 17 votes of SP and Congress combined will take the BSP number to 36 just one short of 37 votes required to win an RS seat. The shortfall of one vote may be covered up by the RLD which has a lone MLA in Assembly.
While six SP MPs will retire on April 2, one each from BJP, Congress and BSP will also retire on the same date from UP’s quota. Elections to 10 Rajya Sabha seats of UP, including one vacated by BSP chief Mayawati, will be held on March 23. In all, polling will be held for 58 RS seats in the country. The last date for filing nominations is March 12 and March 15 is the last date for withdrawal of papers.
In the 245-member Upper House of Parliament, Uttar Pradesh has 31 seats, being the most populous state.