Rajya Sabha election 2018: In what may increase trouble for Mayawati, who is trying to send a Bahujan Samaj Party nominee to the Upper House from Uttar Pradesh, seven Samajwadi Party MLAs surprisingly remained absent from an important meeting called for the polls. With not many days left for the Rajya Sabha polls, the absence of seven MLAs from the meeting doesn’t augur well for Samajwadi Party and BSP, who had recently joined hands for Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections and defeated BJP.
As many as 10 candidates are to be elected from Uttar Pradesh. With its current strength in the UP Assembly, BJP is confident of sending eight of its candidates to the Upper House and contest for the ninth candidate. The SP will also be able to easily send its candidate to the Upper House. However, the road ahead for Mayawati’s candidate is full of troubles.
BSP has just 19 MLAs and the party needs votes of at least 37 MLAs. The SP, which has 47 MLAs, had reportedly promised to pass over its 10 extra votes to the BSP candidate. With the support of Samajwadi Party’s 10 MLAs, Congress’seven and one MLA of Ajit Singh’s party, the BSP was hopeful of sending its candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar to the Rajya Sabha. However, events may not unfold the way Mayawati wants.
The Samajwadi Party is reportedly facing trouble in keeping its flock together. On Wednesday, Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle Shivpal, MLA son of Naresh Agarwal, who had recently quit SP to join BJP and five other MLAs were absent from the meeting. Azam Khan and his son were also among those absent but the party is certain about getting their votes.
Samajwadi Party is not hopeful about getting vote of Naresh Agarwal’s son. One of SP MLA is in jail.
In the Presidential elections last year, around seven MLAs considered close to Shivpal Yadav had voted for BJP candidate Ram Nath Kovind. The saffron party is leaving no stone unturned to defeat Mayawati’s candidate. As BJP is gearing up for the contest, the chances of cross-voting or buyouts of MLAs cannot be denied.
Earlier, there were indications that some of the allies of BJP in Uttar Pradesh were not happy with the ruling party. Om Prakash Rajbhar, chief of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, had told reporters that he was not happy with the way BJP was treating smaller allies. However, after meeting Shah on Tuesday, Rajbhar appeared satisfied and said his party will vote for the BJP candidate.
Shah is expected to visit Uttar Pradesh on April 10 and this will be his first arrival to the state after losses in Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls.
Ahead of Friday election, political parties in the state are holding frenzied meetings. Even CM Yogi Adityanath, who had blamed “overconfidence” for loss in bypolls, is personally said to be keeping a tab on all BJP MLAs.
“Though we are certain of all our nine candidates cruising to the finishing line, after the Gorakhpur-Phulpur fiasco we certainly are in no mood or position to take risks,” says a senior BJP was quoted as saying by IANS.
The BJP has 28 extra votes and it needs nine more votes to send its nine candidates to Rajya Sabha. The saffron party is eying votes of independent MLAs and some sulking lawmakers of SP, BSP, and Congress.
In the presidential elections last year, BJP had the support of independent MLAs like Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaiyya, Vinod Saroj, Aman Mani Tripathi and Vijay Mishra.
The BJP candidates for the Rajya Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh are Arun Jaitley, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav, G.V.L. Narasimha Rao and Anil Kumar Agarwal.