LUCKNOW: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday announced the names of four of its candidates for the upcoming biennial polls for the 12 seats of state Legislative Council falling vacant on January 30.
"The central election committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party has approved the names of Swatantra Dev Singh, Dr Dinesh Sharma, Laxman Prasad Acharya and Arvind Kumar Sharma, as candidates for the upcoming biennial election for Legislative Council in UP," read a release issued by the BJP here on Friday.
Swatantra Dev Singh is party’s UP chief and Dr Dinesh Sharma is one of the two Deputy Chief Ministers of the state.
The other one is Keshav Prasad Maurya.
While the process of filing nomination papers for council polls is under way till January 18, the voting for the dozen seats will take place on January 28. Counting of votes will be done one hour after the completion of polls.
The total strength of UP State Council is 100. Of the 100 members, 38 are elected by the MLAs, 36 by the representatives of local bodies, 8 candidates are elected from teachers’ constituency and 8 from graduate constituency. Remaining 10 members are nominated to the upper house. The tenure of each member is that of 6 years.
Currently, the BJP has 32 members in UP state council. On the basis of its strength in the state assembly, the party is set to win at least 10 seats in the upcoming polls on the basis of its strength in Assembly.
The other parties including Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress have 55, 8 and 2 members respectively in the upper house.
While Samajwadi Party can win one seat, BSP and Congress are not in a position to get their candidates through as BPS has just 18 members in the Assembly of which six had rebelled during last Rajya Sabha elections.
Congress has 7 of which two – Aditi Singh and Rakesh Pratap Singh—both of Rae Bareli have already rebelled and sided with the BJP.
Meanwhile, with Samajwadi Party (SP) having fielded two veteran leaders – Ahmad Hassan and Rajendra Chaudhary-- as its candidates, the council elections have turned into a hot contest for the 12th seat.
Twelve seats need to be filled in the Council, but the SP on its own strength — it has 48 MLAs, including Shivpal Yadav, the estranged uncle of party chief Akhilesh Yadav — can secure only one.
By nominating a second candidate, it has made it an open game and would need the support of MLAs from other parties and even its rival BSP.
The 12th seat would be hotly contested, setting the stage for rebellions and changing configurations and alliances as the State heads toward polls in 2022. The BSP has 18 MLAs on paper but at least half-a-dozen of them had rebelled against it in favour of the SP, bringing down its operative strength to 12.
However, all eyes would be on which way the BSP MLAs would swing, as the party on its own cannot win any MLC seat, or if the party would field a candidate and expect support from the BJP, which would have several legislators to spare for the extra seat in case it fields only 10.
After the rebellion by her MLAs, BSP chief Mayawati had taken the vow in November that she would ensure the defeat of the SP candidate in council polls even if she had to vote for the BJP. The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party of Om Prakash Rajbhar, which was an ally of the BJP till 2019 but now a staunch opponent, has four MLAs, including Rajbhar himslef.
MLA Vijay Mishra, who had contested from Bhadohi on a ticket of the Nishad Party, a BJP ally, is in jail after he was booked under several charges by the government.
Three Independents, including Kunda MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, Aman Mani Tripathi from Maharajganj and Vinod Saroj from Pratapgarh may extend support to the BJP.