Hectic political activity in Lucknow as countdown for RS polls begins

Lucknow, Feb 26 (IANS): Hectic political activity is being witnessed in Lucknow as the countdown for the polling for Rajya Sabha biennial elections to ten seats begins.

The ruling BJP and the main opposition, the Samajwadi Party (SP), have the numbers to send seven and three members respectively, unopposed to the Rajya Sabha, but with the BJP fielding Sanjay Seth as its eighth candidate, a keen contest is now on the cards.

The BJP and the SP are the two largest parties in the 403-member state assembly with 252 MLAs and 108 MLAs respectively.

Seth, a local real estate giant, is a former SP leader who joined the BJP in 2019.

Since the outcome of the polls, being held just ahead of the general elections, are likely to have an impact and both SP and BJP are reaching out to voters in a big way.

Former minister and head of the Jansatta Dal, Raghuraj Pratap Singh a.k.a. Raja Bhaiyya is among the most sought after ‘voter’.

Two days ago, SP leaders went to Raja Bhaiyya’s residence to seek his support and hours later state BJP President Bhupendra Chaudhary drove to his residence for a ‘discussion’ on the same subject.

Akhilesh Yadav also met Raja Bhaiyya and sought his support for the RS polls.

What makes Raja Bhaiyya a much sought after ‘voter’ is the fact that his party has two members but he wields influence over at least four Thakur MLAs who could go his way during the voting.

On Monday, Raja Bhaiyya said that he had not yet taken a decision on the RS polls.

Voting for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats will be held on Tuesday and the results will be announced on the same day.

The seven other candidates fielded by the BJP are former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, General Secretary of the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant (Bind) party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, former MLA Sadhna Singh and former Agra mayor Naveen Jain.

The SP has fielded actor MP Jaya Bachchan, retired IAS officer Alok Ranjan and Dalit leader Ramji Lal Suman.

To get elected to the Rajya Sabha from UP, a candidate needs nearly 37 first preference votes, an official said.

Returning officer Brij Bhushan Dubey said, “A candidate will need 36.37 first preference votes to register a win. At present, there are 399 MLAs in the UP legislative assembly.”

Asked whether the three jailed MLAs will also be able to vote in the Rajya Sabha elections, Dubey said it would be decided by the court and the political party concerned.

SP MLAs Irfan Solanki and Ramakant Yadav and SBSP legislator Abbas Ansari are in jail.

Dubey said that the polling will be held from 9 am to 4 pm. “Counting will commence from 5 pm and results are likely to be announced on Tuesday night,” he said.

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that all the BJP candidates will register a win in the Rajya Sabha elections.

Chief whip of the Samajwadi Party in the legislative assembly, Manoj Pandey, said that all SP MLAs would vote for the party's candidates in Rajya Sabha election.

Pandey claimed that SP leaders, who had won on RLD and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) tickets, will vote for SP candidates.

However, RLD and SBSP leaders said that all their MLAs will vote for BJP candidates.

Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) leader Pallavi Patel, an ally of the Samajwadi Party, had earlier said that she will not vote for SP candidates but has now agreed to vote for the party.



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Title: Hectic political activity in Lucknow as countdown for RS polls begins

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