The BJP in Uttar Pradesh scored a major victory on Friday by bagging nine out of 10 Rajya Sabha seats, days after it lost two crucial seats – Phulpur and Gorakhpur – in the recent Lok Sabha bypolls in the state. The remaining one seat went to the Samajwadi Party. Out of the 58 seats, the BJP has won 12 of the 25 seats in seven states as 33 candidates from 10 states were elected unopposed.
While addressing reporters at the party office in Lucknow, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath congratulated all MLAs of the party as well as of the allies. “It is a major victory for the BJP in UP. All the nine candidates of the party have won the Rajya Sabha elections,” he said. The CM also blamed the Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) loss on the Samajwadi Party’s (SP) “opportunism” as it failed to transfer votes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also conveyed his wishes to the winners. “Congratulations to all those elected to the Rajya Sabha from various states and best wishes for their Parliamentary career. I hope they effectively voice the aspirations of the states they will represent,” he posted on Twitter.
Soon after the results were declared, state BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey said it was a victory of democracy and would boost development-oriented politics in the state. “This is the victory of democracy and it is for the welfare of Uttar Pradesh,” he told media persons.
Besides Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who is the party’s most prominent winner, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav, GVL Narasimha Rao and ninth candidate Anil Kumar Agarwal, who pulled off a surprise win with the help of second preference votes, made it to the Upper House of the Parliament.
On the other hand, SP’s candidate Jaya Bachchan won with the help of first preference votes, defeating BSP candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar in the prestigious battle of ballots, touted as a test for the new-found bonhomie between the parties headed by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.
After the success of the SP-BSP alliance in the Lok Sabha bye-elections in the two constituencies, the parties faced a tough competition against the BJP on Friday. With one BSP MLA believed to have cross-voted and two others in jail being denied permission to vote in the polls, the Opposition faced a challenge of numbers to ensure victory for their second candidate.
Moving the poll panel against the two MLAs who are believed to have cross-voted, deputy leader of the BSP in the state Assembly, Uma Shankar Singh, said, “We have given a written complaint to the Election Commission that our MLA Anil Singh did not show his vote to the election agent of the party before casting it and we are awaiting a reply from the EC in this regard.”
The SP also lodged a similar complaint with regard to MLA Nitin Agarwal, who had switched sides after his father quit the party and joined the BJP recently. “Nitin Agarwal cast his vote without showing it to the election agent and we have demanded the cancellation of his vote,” SP MLC Sunil Singh Sajan said.
While the ruling BJP was confident of bagging eight of the 10 Rajya Sabha seats, the SP fielded Jaya Bachchan and the BSP, Bhimrao Ambedkar, for the remaining two seats. As the parties totted up the numbers, BSP MLA Anil Singh indicated that he had cross-voted in favour of the BJP, saying “I am with Maharaj-ji”, a reference to CM Yogi Adityanath.
The Allahabad High Court had denied permission to BSP’s Mukhtar Ansari, currently lodged in the Banda jail, to vote in the Rajya Sabha elections. And a court in Firozabad had rejected a petition by SP MLA Hariom Yadav, who is in the Firozabad jail.
The Opposition banked heavily on the votes of two Independents – Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya and his close associate and MLA Vinod Saroj.
Raja Bhaiya, who has had a rocky relationship with BSP chief Mayawati, had tweeted this morning that he was with “Akhilesh ji” and specified that it did not mean that he was with the BSP.