In a setback to both SP and BSP in the Rajya Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh, the BJP on Monday fielded 11 candidates despite it being in a position to safely ensure the win of eight of them with the help of its 324 MLAs in the state Assembly. With this, 14 candidates, including one each from SP and BSP, as well as an Independent, have filed nomination for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats from UP. A candidate needs votes of 37 MLAs in UP to win a seat in the Upper House. While BSP has entered into a temporary tie-up with SP to ensure the victory of its only candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar, Congress has also declared support for the Mayawati-led party.
Till now, the SP was sure of the victory of its sole candidate Jaya Bachchan. With 47 MLAs in the Assembly, it would have won its seat and also transferred 10 spare votes to the BSP. But with its MLA Nitin Agarwal joining the BJP on Monday, it is now left with 46 votes. And with BJP fielding three extra candidates — 13 nominees for 10 seats — the Bachchan win is not so secure anymore.
The BSP, meanwhile, has only 19 votes. Besides SP, it is also banking on Congress’ seven MLAs. With 19 votes of its own, nine of SP and seven of Congress, Ambedkar will still need two extra votes. For this, it is depending on smaller parties like RLD and Nishad — which have one vote each. Now, the three BJP candidates make its all the more difficult for BSP to win a seat.
The three extra candidates fielded by BJP were Anil Agarwal (chairman of Ghaziabad-based HRIT Group of Institutions) and party general secretaries Vidya Sagar Sonkar and Salil Vishnoi. They filed their nomination on Monday along with the other seven party nominees announced on Sunday. They were Ashok Bajpai, S D Rajbhar, G V L Narsimha Rao, Kanta Kardam, V P Tomar, Anil Jain and Harnath Singh Yadav. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who also filed his nomination, was announced as a candidate last week.
“I am a BJP candidate. I had contested Legislative Council elections from teacher’s constituency in the past. The party has shown faith in me and I am confident that people would vote for me to support development,” said Anil Agarwal.
When asked why the extra candidates have been fielded, BJP state president Mahendra Nath Pandey said: “Those with hardly any numbers have fielded candidates. Thus, it was decided that as we have additional votes of 28 MLAs… we should field additional candidate as well. Those who want good for the state and believe in the democracy, would vote for our candidates.” Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya told mediapersons: “Jiski tension barhti ho barhe, hum relaxed hain.”
The other deputy CM, Dinesh Sharma, said: “SP-BSP-Congress teeno milke bhi mukabla nahi kar sakte… (Even together, SP, BSP and Congress cannot fight us).” He added that BJP has fielded party workers, “who would put a stop to this “joint movement”.
When contacted, Principal Secretary (Vidhan Sabha) Pradeep Dubey said 11 nominations from BJP, one each from BSP and Congress, and one from an Independent, have been received by Monday evening. Sources said Independent candidate Mahesh Chandra Sharma, who submitted his nomination on Monday, could not file all the required papers and proposers for his candidature. While scrutiny of nominations will take place on March 13, the last date to withdraw candidature is on March 15.