Stage set for pitched battle for 10 Rajya Sabha seats in UP; 8 SP MLAs skip party meet amid cross-voting fears

Hectic political activity has been going on in both camps to arrange the requisite strength for their candidates' win.
Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha File Photo | PTI

LUCKNOW: The dinner diplomacy was in play in both the ruling and the opposition camps as they hosted their MLAs on Monday, the eve of crucial Rajya Sabha election set for an imminent high-pitched battle on Tuesday to elect 10 members up for grabs in Uttar Pradesh.

A total of 11 candidates are in the fray with the BJP and the Samajwadi Party (SP) having the numbers to send seven and three members respectively, unopposed, but BJP’s Sanjay Seth as its eighth candidate, necessitated a keen contest. The outcome of the RS polls is likely to have an impact in the politically crucial state just ahead of the Lok Sabah polls.

BJP had earlier announced only seven names including Congress turncoat and former Union Minister RPN Singh, former Agra mayor Navin Jain, BJP national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, former Mathura MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, former UP MLAs – Sangeeta Balwant and Sadhna Singh along with UP BJP state general secretary Amar Pal Maurya.

The SP had fielded three candidates including Jaya Bachchan, who is the four-time RS MP and is being given the fifth term, former UP Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan and Ramji Lal Suman. Of the 10 seats going to be vacant on April 2, nine are from BJP quota and one – Jaya Bachchan -- from SP.

However, hectic political activity has been going on in both camps to arrange the requisite strength for their candidates' win. As per Returning Officer Brijbhushan Dubey, a candidate will need 36.37 first preference votes to register a win. At present, there are 399 MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. "Polling will be held from 9 am to 4 pm. Counting will commence from 5 pm and results are likely to be announced on Tuesday night," he added.

As per the seat arithmetic, each RS candidate will require the support of 36.3 legislators to sail through. While the BJP and its allies together make up 286 MLAs – BJP (252), Apan Dal (S): 13, NISHAD: 06, SBSP: 06 and RLD: 09.

While Jayant Chaudhury announced the support of his MLAs for the BJP candidate and all nine met CM Yogi Adityanath in the afternoon, Raghuraj Pratap Singh (Raja Bhaiyya) too assured his support to the BJP. Raja Bhaiyya -led Jansatta Dal - Loktantrik has two MLAs in the Assembly. However, the strength of SBSP is just five as the 6th MLA Abbas Ansari, son of jailed gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, was the SP candidate on the SBSP ticket in the 2022 UP Assembly elections.

In any case, NDA will not get his vote. As a result, NDA strength is expected to be 287 against 290.96 needed by the ruling alliance to ensure passage of its all eight candidates. In such a scenario, NDA will fall short of around 3-4 votes. On the other, the SP requires the support of 109.11 MLAs for its three candidates. The party is relying on its 108 MLAs of which two – Irfan Solanki and Ramakant Yadav -- are lodged in jail on criminal charges. This lessens SP’s strength to 106. With the support of two Congress MLAs, SP can increase its tally to 108, which will, however, be short of one to two votes.

However, as per the highly-placed sources, at least eight SP MLAs were conspicuous with their absence in the meeting called by the party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday evening leading to strong speculations of cross-voting by some of the SP MLAs on Tuesday.

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