In a surprising development, former Union Minister Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) Monday declared to support Bahujan Samaj Party in the MLC elections scheduled on January 23. RLD had been part of the UPA and it had contested recent Lok Sabha election sharing seats with the Congress.
RLD has eight MLAs in the UP assembly and its support will ease the way for election of BSP’s third candidate in the polls. BSP now needs another five extra votes for its third candidate to sail through.
“Our party has decided to support BSP in the MLC elections. The decision has been taken by our leaders at top level. We are not involved in decision making and cannot comment on its fallout,” RLD state president Munna Singh Chauhan told The Indian Express.
He also claimed that RLD will not support its old ally Congress, which has shifted closer to the ruling Samajwadi Party. “Congress extended support to SP without consulting (then) there was no point in supporting them. They have not even fielded any candidate,” he said.
Chauhan, however, denied any information about future alliance with BSP. “Whether this alliance will continue in future, will be decided by our leadership. I have no idea,” he added.
The support is important since BSP with 80 MLAs has the numerical strength to send only two candidates to upper house. Presently, SP has 230 MLAs and will require 18 extra votes for getting its eighth candidate elected. BSP has 80 legislators and requires 13 extra votes for getting its three candidates elected. BJP has lowest strength of 41 MLAs and will need 21 extra votes for its second candidate. Assured of eight votes, BSP now only needs five extra votes for its third candidate.
Meanwhile, SP’s eight candidate filed their nominations in presence of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and other ministers today. The candidates include health minister Ahmed Hasan, Sarojini Agarwal, Ramesh Yadav, Ramjatan Rajbhar, Sahab Singh Saini, Ashok Bajpai, Virendra Singh Gurjar and Ashu Malik.