RS polls: Fear of cross voting looms large over BJP, SP in UP

Lucknow: The fear of cross voting is now looming large over the BJP and Samajwadi Party in the upcoming Rajya Sabha biennial elections.

Resentment is brewing in the Nishad Party — an ally of the BJP — over the selection of candidates for the Rajya Sabha biennial elections.

At least, two Nishad Party legislators have voiced their reservations over the candidature of Sanjay Seth, who is BJP’s eighth candidate.

Seth needs eight extra votes from outside the BJP to emerge as winner and the support of allies like the Nishad Party is crucial.

The Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by a system of proportional representation, according to which each candidate in UP will require at least 37 votes to win.

The BJP has 252 MLAs and its NDA allies account for 34 MLAs — 13 from the Apna Dal, nine from the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), six each from the NISHAD Party and the Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP).

The Jansatta Dal Loktantrik, which has two MLAs and is headed by strongman politician Raja Bhaiya, is also expected to vote in favour of the BJP.

If the BJP manages to get all the 36 votes from these parties, its total number of votes will reach 288. However, for its eighth candidate to get elected, the BJP will need 296 votes. As things stand, the BJP will fall short by eight votes.

According to a Nishad Party MLA, who spoke to IANS on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, “Sanjay Seth is an affluent builder and we would have preferred an OBC or SC candidate. We will discuss the issue and decide what is to be done.”

Seth was previously elected to the Rajya Sabha as an SP candidate in June 2016. He later switched to the BJP.

Sanjay Nishad, UP minister and President of the Nishad Party, however, denied any differences within his party.

“There is total unity in my party and we will all go with BJP. If needed, I will even issue a whip for my MLAs,” he said.

The BJP has also nominated former Union minister R P N Singh, ex-MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, state party general secretary Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant, party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, former MLA Sadhna Singh and former Agra mayor Naveen Jain for the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, the SP’s Rajya Sabha list includes senior leader and actor Jaya Bachchan, Dalit leader Ramji Lal Suman and former state chief secretary Alok Ranjan.

If the two Congress MLAs vote for the SP candidates, taking the SP’s tally to 110, the latter will still fall short by one vote to reach the required 111 votes (37 multiplied by 3) to get its three candidates elected.

SP MLA Pallavi Patel has already announced that she would not vote for “candidates like Bachchan and Ranjan” because they do not fit into the PDA (Pichhda, Dalit Alpasankhyak) formula.

Sources said that some other legislators could cross vote because of prevailing crisis in the SP.

If the BJP had not nominated an eighth candidate, the state would not have needed an election as all 10 candidates would have been elected unopposed.

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