Rajya Sabha elections 2018: Owing to its mammoth majority in Uttar Pradesh Assembly, Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to win at least eight Rajya Sabha seats out of 10 in the polls scheduled for March 23. However, the party on Monday made a move, which left entire opposition surprised. The saffron party fielded three more candidates. The party has fielded Vidya Sagar Sonkar, Salil Vishnoi, and Ghaziabad-based businessman Anil Agarwal. While Sonkar is a former BJP MP, Vishnoi is a former three-time MLA from Kanpur’s Aryanagar constituency. Agarwal, a businessman who runs educational intitutions, is also said to be a BJP associate.
In Uttar Pradesh, at least 37 votes are required to get an MP elected to Rajya Sabha. BJP, along with his allies, has 324 MLA votes. As it is deemed confirmed, the party will require 306 MLAs. This means that BJP+ will have 18 spare votes.
The SP, which has 47 MLAs, has nominated on MP to Rajya Sabha. i.e Jaya Bachchan. The party will have 10 spare MLA votes, which it has already announced to poll in favour of Mayawati’s BSP. The BSP has 19 MLAs and the Congress, another ally, has nine MLAs. Also, Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal has one seat in the Assembly. In total, 10 (SP) + 19 (BSP) + 9 (Congress) + 1 (RJD) = 39 seats, i.e. two above the required number. BJP’s move to field more candidates is a bid to destroy this equation.
In all likelihood, the saffron party would look to garner some support from the independent MLAs and Opposition party members who are looking to defect. The move puts the fate of BSP candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar in limbo. Had the party not fielded three extra candidates, there would not have been an election for the remaining seats and Opposition candidates would have won. However, it will not be a surprise if some of the BJP candidates pull out of the elections on Wednesday.
The other candidates fielded by BJP in UP include, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Dr Anil Jain, G V L Narasimha Rao and Harnath Singh Yadav. The elections for the 58 Upper House seats are scheduled to take place on 23rd March.