The Election Commission today announced the bypoll schedule for four vacant seats of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council, which might enable Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to take the Upper House route to enter the legislature before a six-month window expires next month. Adityanath, who took over as the chief minister on March 19, has to become a legislator within six months of assuming office and the deadline expires on September 19. According to an Election Commission release, the issuance of notification will be done on August 29, while September 5 is the last date for filing nominations. Scrutiny of nominations will be done on September 6, and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is September 8. Polling will be held on September 15, counting of votes will also be done on September 15 and the election will be completed before September 18.
Besides Adityanath, deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, and ministers Swatantra Dev Singh and Mohsin Raza are not member of either of the two Houses. Adityanath and Maurya are still members of the Lok Sabha. All of them have to get elected to either the assembly or the legislative council before September 19 — when they complete six months — in order to continue as ministers. If Adityanath chooses the council route, he will become the third successive chief minister, after Akhilesh Yadav (SP) and Mayawati (BSP), to become member of the upper house. The four seats for which bypolls will be held were vacated by MLCs Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant, Sarojini Agarwal and Ashok Bajpai, all members of the Samajwadi Party (SP). On August 9, SP MLC Ashok Bajpai resigned from the Legislative Council, taking the number of party MLCs who have quit recently to four. Three of the SP MLCs, who had resigned, have already joined the BJP.
On August 19, Bajpai joined the BJP, taking the total number of former MLCs, who had resigned last month from the House, to do so to five. Former SP MLCs Sarojini Agrawal, Bukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh, and Thakur Jaiveer Singh, formerly a BSP MLC, joined the ruling party earlier. On August 4, SP MLC Sarojini Agarwal resigned from the Legislative Council membership and joined the BJP. Three sitting MLCs Bukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh (both Samajwadi Party) and Thakur Jaiveer Singh (BSP) had resigned from the membership of the upper house on July 29 coinciding with the visit of BJP president Amit Shah to the state capital.
The resignation of five MLCs including (four of the SP and one BSP) assumes significance as the saffron party has to take a decision on five of its ministers in Uttar Pradesh, including the chief minister, as none of them is a member of either of the two Houses. The other UP chief ministers who opted for the Legislative Council route are Narain Dutt Tiwari, after he was shifted from the Centre, and late Ram Prakash Gupta (BJP). Former chief minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh had become a member of UP Legislative Council in November 1980 after assuming the chief minister’s office in June 1980. He later contested a by-election from Tindwari assembly constituency, and became a member of UP Legislative Assembly in 1981.