With several SP leaders lobbying for Rajya Sabha nomination,partys senior leader Azam Khan has placed some conditions before Mulayam Singh Yadav for selecting candidates.
The first is that there should be at least two Muslims in the list. A clean image,commitment to the party,faithfulness should be kept in mind while selecting the candidates,Khan is believed to have conveyed to Yadav. Also,the secular credentials of the candidates should be considered.
With 224 MLAs,the SP is assured of winning six out of the 10 seats,election for which will be held on March 30.
The fax machine in SP office here is getting two types of letters these days. One is congratulatory notes,and the other bio-data of leaders requesting for RS nominations. We placed these before the state president. The number of such applications has increased after the election results were announced, said a party functionary. Interestingly,most of the applications are addressed to CM-designate Akhilesh Yadav.
All applicants have a few things in common: they all claim that they are socialists since Lohia days and have been jailed several times.
Topping the list of probables is Maharashtra MLA Abu Asim Azmi who has been reportedly asked by party supremo Mulayam Singh to resign from the Maharashtra Assembly to enter the Rajya Sabha. Azmi will serve two purposes: He will represent Muslim and his induction in the RS is expected to strengthen the party in Maharashtra.
The surprise is former MP Jaya Bachchan. She was offered party ticket two years ago,which she declined. However,Mulayam is said to be keen that she should accept the offer this time.
Other strong contenders include Sanjay Lathar,national president of the SPs Yuvjan Sabha and in-charge of the party in Haryana. Veteran politician Brijbhushan Tiwari is also vying for the RS as is former Bengal minister Kiranmoy Nanda. New entrant from the RLD Anuradha Choudhary and party-hopper Naresh Agarwal reportedly want to enter the RS too.
Former MP Bhagwati Singh from Lucknow is another aspirant. Though he failed to get a ticket for his son from Bakshi Ka Talab seat in Lucknow,Bhagwati Singh is counted among those close to Mulayam Singh.
Among the Muslims,known turncoat Shahid Siddiqui and Kamal Farooqui,member of the All India Personal Law Bord (AIMPLB),are also said to be lobbying,but their chances are not rated very bright.
Party sources said that the picture will be clear after the swearing-in ceremony,scheduled for March 15.
Ten Rajya Sabha seats will fall vacant on April 12. The election process began with the issuance of notification on Monday. Nominations will be accepted till March 19,withdrawal will take place the next day,and polling,if required,will be held on March 30.
In the outgoing lot,the BSP has a maximum of five,BJP and SP have two each while the RLD has one MP.