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Business News/ Politics / News/  Rajya Sabha Polls today: INDIA bloc faces first electoral test in Uttar Pradesh. Here's why
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Rajya Sabha Polls today: INDIA bloc faces first electoral test in Uttar Pradesh. Here's why

Rajya Sabha Polls: The BJP has forced a contest by fielding its eighth candidate, thus necessitating an election. The support from MLAs is crucial for both sides - the BJP and SP-Congress - to secure the required number of votes

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (HT File Photo) (HT_PRINT)Premium
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi (HT File Photo) (HT_PRINT)

The Samajwadi Party - Congress alliance in Uttar Pradesh is set to face its first electoral test of strength during the polling to be held for ten Rajya Sabha seats from the state on February 27.

The two largest parties, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the principal Opposition Samajwadi Party, seemed to have enough members in the UP state assembly to elect seven and three Rajya Sabha MPs, respectively.

However, the BJP forced a contest at the last moment by fielding its eighth candidate, thus necessitating an election. The eighth BJP candidate, Sanjay Seth, filed his nomination papers at 1:30 pm, just ahead of the 3 pm close of nominations on February 15.

Thus, the support from MLAs is crucial for both sides to secure the required number of votes. The election became even more interesting after the SP stitched up an alliance with the Congress in the state. Both sides, the BJP and SP-Congress, will aspire to get the requisite poll strength to get their candidates to sail through.

The Numbers

Given the existing strength of the UP assembly, each candidate requires the support of 37 MLAs. The SP, which has fielded three candidates - Jaya Bachchan, Ramjilal Suman and Alok Ranjan, requires the support of 111 MLAs. But, it has the support of 110, which include 108 of the SP and two of the Congress party.

Two of the 108 SP MLAs, Irfan Solanki and Rama Kant Yadav, are lodged in jail on criminal charges. Another MLA, Pallavi Patel, has announced that she won’t vote for the party, accusing party chief Akhilesh Yadav of ignoring its PDA (Pichhda, Dalit, Alpsankhyak) philosophy. Under these circumstances, the SP-Congress strength thus comes down to 107, four short of the required number.

The BJP-led NDA requires the support of 296 MLAs to get its eight candidates elected. The ruling camp has 277 MLAs on its side. SBSP’s Abbas Ansari, however, is in jail. With nine MLAs of RLD now inclined towards the saffron camp, BJP will have its support scaled up to 286, which will still be short of 10 MLAs.

The lone BSP MLA, Uma Shankar Singh, may abstain from voting. All eyes will in such a scenario be on Raghuraj Pratap Singh, whose Jansatta Dal - Loktantrik (JD-L) has two MLAs - Raja Bhaiyya, as Raghuraj Pratap Singh is known, from Kunda and Vinod Saroj from Babaganj. Sources said that SP and the BJP have opened back-channel negotiations with Raja to seek support for candidates.

There are reports that many MLAs from the opposition camp have decided to cross-vote during the election, which will help the ruling NDA have all its eighth candidates sail through, thus leaving only two Rajya Sabha wins for the opposition camp.

BJP forced the contest

Had the BJP not fielded its eighth nominee, election to the 10 Rajya Sabha seats would have passed unopposed. But now, with 11 candidates in the fray, the election on February 27 is expected to witness a high-pitched electoral battle. And the outcome will have a bearing on the politically crucial state just ahead of the general elections scheduled in the next two months.

Overall, 56 Rajya Sabha candidates had to be elected; 41 were elected unopposed. The election for the remaining 15 seats, including ten from UP, is being held on Tuesday. The other five seats are in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.

Last week, the SP and the Congress party finally agreed on a seat-sharing arrangement for contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections as part of the INDIA bloc in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress will contest 17 seats, while the SP and other parties of the alliance will field its candidates in 63 of the 80 parliamentary seats in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh.

Also, the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP will contest Madhya Pradesh’s Khajuraho Lok Sabha seat and will, in return, support Congress in the rest of the state’s 29 seats in the state, as part of the deal.

It is worth mentioning here that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party had called the Chandigarh Mayor Election held last month as the first electoral test of the INDIA bloc against the BJP. The AAP and Congress had contested the Mayor’s election jointly, and eventually, their candidate Kuldeep Kumar was declared winner only after the Supreme Court’s intervention. 

 

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Published: 27 Feb 2024, 07:27 AM IST
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