Hours before the nominations for the Rajya Sabha elections were to close, Prakash Bajaj, a Varanasi-based lawyer backed by the Samajwadi Party, on Tuesday filed as an Independent candidate from Uttar Pradesh, thereby opening up the race for a contest.
For the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from the state going to polls this time, 11 candidates have filed their nomination papers. Of the 11 candidates, eight are from the BJP, one from the Samajwadi Party, one from the BSP and one Independent.
The SP’s decision to back Bajaj comes in the wake of the BSP, which does not have enough MLAs to win a Rajya Sabha seat, deciding to field a candidate.
A senior official said that each candidate would need at least 37 votes to be elected. While BJP with 304 MLAs can get its eight candidates elected, the Samajwadi Party with 48 MLAs can send one to the Upper House. While SP has fielded – party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, the BJP’s eight candidates — Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Neeraj Shekhar, Brijlal, Haridwar Dubey, Seema Dwivedi, Seema Shakya, BL Verma and Arun Singh – filed their nomination papers on Tuesday.
While the BJP with eight “spare” MLAs and another eight of its ally Apna Dal decided not to field an additional candidate, the Samajwadi Party with about 11 MLAs to spare initially chose not to field an additional candidate. But the BSP with just 11 MLAs fielded Ramji Gautam clearly banking on votes from members of other parties.
However, now with an Independent candidate in the race, a contest seems imminent unless someone withdraws nomination. The voting will take place on November 9.
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