The biennial election to the State Legislative Council,scheduled for January 22,is expected to make the picture clear about political realignments in the State ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
While the ruling BSP and the SP are fighting to keep their flock of MLAs intact,the real fight is between the BJP and the Congress for one seat for which both are wooing the RLD,which has 10 MLAs in the Assembly. The election is being held to fill 12 vacancies.
In order to win,a candidate needs a minimum of 32 MLAs. The BJPs strength is 51,but it has fielded two candidates. The Congress candidate needs 11 extra votes because the partys has 21 MLAs.
Although the RLDs announcement of its list of candidates for five Lok Sabha seats from western UP indicates its tilt towards the NDA camp,party chief Ajit Singh is keeping both the Congress and the BJP on the tenterhooks.
Incidentally,state Congress party chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi had said on Sunday that the RLD should join the SP-Congress alliance to defeat the communal forces. Charan Singhs politics was for secularism, the UPCC president said on phone from Delhi.
The BSP is also trying hard to manage some extra votes,just in case its jailed MLAs switch sides. The BSP has 217 MLAs and has fielded seven candidates. The government decision to shift the controversial MLA Mukhtar Ansari from Agra jail to the jail in his hometown Ghazipur is being seen as part of the BSPs efforts to woo the Ansari bothers for their votes in the Council polls.
Ansaris brother Sibkatullah is an SP MLA.
Mukhtar wants two tickets for Lok Sabha,one for himself and another for his brother Afzal Ansari. It wont be surprising if the BSP strikes a deal with the Ansari brothers in the present situation, an SP MLC said.