The BJP is pulling out all the stops to deny Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party a seat in the Rajya Sabha, turning the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh into a big political battle reminiscent of the Rajya Sabha election of Congress leader Ahmed Patel from Gujarat last year.
With 324 MLAs of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, and 37 needed to win one seat, the party can secure eight Rajya Sabha seats from the state, with 28 votes to spare. However, UP BJP spokesman Rakesh Tripathi said, the BJP is “extremely determined to win the ninth Rajya Sabha seat”. UP BJP spokesman Chandra Mohan said MLAs across party lines will vote for “development” and “considering people’s mood for BJP.”
The BJP’s strategy involves bringing all three independent MLAs on its side, including Raja Bhaiyya (a known adversary of Mayawati) and Amanmani Tripathi, opening talks with Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav and his loyal MLAs to ensure they don’t vote for the BSP and getting an MLA of the NISHAD party and one of Rashtriya Lok Dal – parties which backed SP or BSP during the recent bypolls – on its side as well.
“All three independents, Shivpal Yadav, some SP MLAs and the NISHAD MLA had voted for the BJP during last year’s presidential polls. Instead of 324 votes of the NDA MLAs, Ram Nath Kovind had got 335 votes due to the cross-voting. The same is expected to be the case in the ninth seat of the Rajya Sabha polls too,” a senior BJP functionary in the state told ET on condition of anonymity.
He said this strategy is expected to ensure that the BSP candidate, Bhimrao Ambedkar, will stop short of getting 37 MLA votes that would guarantee him a Rajya Sabha seat. “He is presently at 36 MLA votes after the son of Naresh Agarwal, an SP MLA, yesterday (Monday) decided to vote for our candidate. The count will go down further as voting day nears. Second preference votes will then come into the picture and our candidate will sail through,” the senior BJP functionary said.
SP can get its candidate, Jaya Bachchan, elected with 37 out of its 47 MLAs and shift 10 of its votes to the BSP, which has 19 MLAs. The Congress has also pledged support of its seven MLAs to the BSP. That will take the BSP tally to 36 votes and it is expected to get the vote of the RLD MLA as well to sail through with a figure of 37.
But on Monday, SP leader Naresh Agarwal joined the BJP, and his son, an SP MLA, declared he would vote for the BJP, bringing down the BSP figure to 36. “Vijay Mishra, the Nishad MLA will vote for BJP, so will the three independents. The RLD MLA from Chaprauli may also shift to the BJP camp,” a BJP leader said.
Tripathi said that the SP MLAs of the Shivpal Yadav camp might also vote for the BJP. “BSP votes did not get transferred to the SP during the bypolls, and the results will show that on March 14. SP MLAs’ enthusiasm to vote for the BSP will hence wane while voting for Rajya Sabha seats. SP would also like to keep some spare votes for its candidate, Jaya Bachchan, and not transfer all its nine spare MLA votes to the BSP,” he said.
Source: Economic Times