Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his two deputies, Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, will contest the upcoming state Legislative Council bypolls, the BJP announced August 30th. Even though the filing of nomination began on Ausust 29th, no nomination paper was filed till Wednesday. According to BJP sources, Adityanath and his two deputies, besides two ministers - Swatantra Dev Singh and Mohsin Raza - were likely to file nominations close to the last date. The victory of all five BJP nominees appears a foregone conclusion given the party's overwhelming majority in the 403 -member assembly. Hours after the saffron party announced its candidates, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav took a potshot saying that had there been strength in the BJP, its leaders would have fought direct elections to enter the state legislature and not taken the Council route. "But it (BJP) has taken Samajwadi Party MLCs in its fold to pave their way for entering the Upper House," he claimed. A number of MLCs from opposition parties in the state, who resigned recently, have given statements in favour of the Adityanath government. Adityanath and his ministerial colleagues need to get elected to one of the houses, Assembly or Council, within six months of assuming office to continue in their posts. This six month deadline expires on September 19. Adityanath and Maurya are Lok Sabha members and are likely to resign once they win the Council by-polls. The last date for filing nominations for four seats is September 5 and the scrutiny will be done the next day. The last date for the withdrawal of candidature is September 8. Polling will be held on September 15 and counting of votes will be done the same day. The EC will issue a notification on August 31 for the bypoll to the fifth seat. The four seats for which bypolls will be held on September 15 were vacated by MLCs Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant, Sarojini Agarwal and Ashok Bajpai - all from the SP. Another seat fell vacant when Thakur Jaiveer Singh, a former BSP MLC resigned from the party and joined BJP. Once elected to the Upper House, Adityanath will become the third successive chief minister, after Akhilesh Yadav (SP) and Mayawati (BSP), to opt for the Legislative Council. Other UP chief ministers who had opted for the Council route were Narain Dutt Tiwari 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 the Tindwari assembly seat and became a member of UP Legislative Assembly in 1981.