BJP hopes to create fissures among rivals in three states for ‘extra’ Rajya Sabha seats
Hoping to create fissures in the ranks of the ruling alliances in these states, the BJP is likely to force contest on additional seats beyond the party’s existing strength in the respective assemblies
NEW DELHI: In a quest for extra Rajya Sabha seats, the BJP is bracing up to test the strength of the ruling alliances in Maharashtra and Jharkhand and the Congress in Madhya Pradesh.
Hoping to create fissures in the ranks of the ruling alliances in these states, the BJP is likely to force contest on additional seats beyond the party’s existing strength in the respective assemblies.
With Madhya Pradesh Assembly evenly balanced between the Congress and the BJP, the saffron party is assured of one Rajya Sabha berth on its existing strength while it will seek to force a contest on a second seat.
Out of the three vacancies in the state, the BJP, on the basis of its numbers in the assembly, can get only one member elected to the Upper House of Parliament while two members of the party are retiring.
“Just about half-a-dozen MLAs separate the BJP from the half-way mark in MP, while the Congress ranks have scope for a few of their legislators to cross-vote. The BJP will test the acumen of Chief Minister Kamal Nath to keep the Congress flock intact,” said a senior BJP functionary.
In Maharashtra, the BJP is hoping to bag three Rajya Sabha seats, while the ruling Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi coalition led by Shiv Sena president and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray may win the remaining four seats.
The BJP is hoping to bag one seat in Jharkhand, while another would go to the ruling alliance led by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Sources said the party may back an independent candidate to force contest in the eastern state.
Even in Bihar, where the Assembly will elect five members to the Upper House, the National Democratic Alliance is comfortably placed to bag three berths — two for Nitish Kumar -led Janata Dal (United) and one for the BJP — on their existing strength in the state legislature.
"The biennial Rajya Sabha elections will give enough hints of the strengths of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra and Jharkhand. The sword of instability will always hang on the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh due to the composition of the Assembly. The BJP will indeed look for opportunities in the three states,” added the BJP leader.
MP minister’s cryptic response
Madhya Pradesh minister and Independent MLA Pradeep Jaiswal said he is with Chief Minister Kamal Nath as long as the latter is in power, but all his options will be open in case the 14-month-old Congress government falls.
“If the government falls in future, my options will be open for development of my area and I will act according to desire of the people of my constituency,” Jaiswal told reporters.