The Rajya Sabha elections for six states covering 58 seats of the 245-member House are scheduled to take place on Friday. Polling will take place between 9 am and 4 pm and counting will begin at 5 pm. The results will be announced later this evening. To secure a win in this election, a candidate needs a certain number of votes which can be calculated on the basis of strength of the Assembly and the number of MPs it sends to Rajya Sabha.
While Rajya Sabha members are retiring from 16 states, contest will be held in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Telangana, Jharkhand, Karntaka and Chhattisgarh today.
The Rajya Sabha polls are crucial since the BJP, which enjoys a comfortable majority in Lok Sabha, has 58 Rajya Sabha MPs.
Nearly two weeks after the BJP suffered a massive setback in Lok Sabha bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituency, it is likely to compensate for the loss by sending at least eight MPs to the Upper House of Parliament.
For the Uttar Pradesh Rajya Sabha elections, 11 candidates are in the fray for the 10 seats on offer from the state. The BJP has fielded nine candidates and it has the numbers to get at least eight seats and the other two are expected to go to the SP and the BSP (which is counting on the support of other parties). However, senior BJP leaders are of the opinion that the ninth seat will be a contest.
When questioned on the voting today, BSP MLA Anil Singh indicated he cross-voted in favour of BJP saying, “I am with Maharaj-ji”, referring to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. BSP Legislature Party’s Deputy leader Uma Shankar Singh said he cannot be sure that Anil Singh had voted for the BSP candidate.
Anil Singh added that he had cast his vote and showed it to BSP agent Lalji Verma and the rest could be known from him. “I have cast my vote after showing it to Lalji Verma and he will tell you the details…I am with Maharaj-ji (Adityanath),” he said after voting at the Tilak Hall in the Assembly complex.
According to Shankar, 17 MLAs of the total 19 had cast their votes by midday and shown them to Verma. “We are not very sure about Anil Singh as he was not present either in the meeting last night nor in the breakfast with party chief Mayawati this morning,” Uma Shankar was quoted as saying PTI. Another MLA of the party, Mukhtar Ansari, is in Banda jail. The BSP is already short of one vote in the event of the court’s refusal to let Ansari vote.
Why? Let’s break down the numbers
The BJP (311) and its allies (13) have 324 MLAs in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly. To secure a win in this Rajya Sabha election, a UP candidate needs to win 37 first preference votes. Going by that, BJP can easily win eight of the 10 seats and will be left with 28 surplus votes.
When it comes to the Opposition, Samajwadi Party has 47 seats in the Assembly, the BSP has 19 and Congress 7. Since the BSP is falling short of 18 first preference votes, Congress has pledged support to the party. Following the recent bypoll win, 10 surplus votes of SP are also likely to go to the BSP candidate which might also receive support from one RLD MLA.
Turncoat Naresh Agrawal’s son Nitin Agrawal, who is still an SP MP, will be backing BJP along with and Independent Amanmani Tripathi. The lone NISHAD party MLA is also expected to vote for BJP. That takes the vote count for BJP’s ninth seat up to 31 seats — 6 votes short of the magic number. This is where Independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh ‘Raja Bhaiyya’ is crucial.
After electing its eight candidates, BJP will only have 15 votes left to elect Anil Agarwal — its ninth candidate. With Agarwal needing votes of 37 MLAs to go to the Upper House, BJP will have to bank on its allies – 9 MLAs from Apna Dal and 4 from SBSP. Then, too, it would need another nine votes from the Opposition camp.
Candidates in fray
BJP – Arun Jaitley, Ashok Bajpai, Vijaya Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav, GVL Narsimha Rao
SP – Jaya Bachchan
BSP – Bhimrao Ambedkar
Independent: Anil Agarwal (suppported by BJP)
BJP + allies: 324 seats in Assembly
Congress: 7 (offered to back BSP)
Votes needed for a win: 37
BJP is sure to win 8 Rajya Sabha seats; SP likely to win ninth; tough fight on 10th between BSP and BJP’s ninth nominee