LUCKNOW: BSP chief Mayawati, on Wednesday, introduced an intriguing turn to fast-paced political developments taking place in UP on Rajya Sabha poll eve by asking her SP counterpart Akhilesh Yadav to allot 10 ‘dedicated’ SP MLAs as ensured vote bank for her candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Voting will take place on March 23.
The BSP chief’s stand comes amidst reports of the possibility of shortfall in number of SP MLAs as Nitin Agarwal has switched sides with father Naresh Agarwal to the BJP. Uncertainty is also looming over the support of senior SP leader and party MLA Shivpal Yadav and a few of his supporters who may cross vote. Notably, Shivpal had voted in favour of NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind in presidential elections going against his partyline.
However, Mayawati's demand, which has come after SP registered an emphatic win in UP bypolls with her support, could put SP candidate Jaya Bachchan’s fate at risk in the eventuality of crossing voting by some of the remaining 36 SP MLAs.
As a rule, all political parties will now be required to allot MLAs for their respective candidates. Given the number of vacancies, each candidate will have to get at least 37 votes. With a strength of 46 MLAs, SP can spare 10 MLA towards BSP only when its own candidate Jaya Bachchan is safely placed after getting the mandatory 37 first preferential votes.
While the BSP chief Mayawati is expected to hold a meeting of her party MLAs on Thursday to firm up her final strategy for Friday voting, BSP MLA Umashankar Singh hosted a dinner for his party MLAs on Wednesday evening.
With only 19 MLAs, Mayawati is relying on the support of SP's 10 and Congress's seven MLAs, besides one from the RLD. The three parties have already submitted in Vidhan Sabha expressing their support to the BSP nominee.