Agencies: The battle for the 10th seat in Rajya Sabha elections appeared going to the wire on the eve of voting on Thursday night amid reports that at least two BSP MLAs were in touch with top BJP leadership. This came soon after courts disallowed two jailed MLAs — BSP’s Mukhtar Ansari and SP’s Hariom Yadav — from voting due on Friday.
One BSP MLA met BJP leaders just after he attended a meeting called by his party chief Mayawati at the state headquarters to chalk out the plan for voting. While the MLA could not be contacted, BSP state chief Ram Achal Rajbhar said that the party would take stock of the situation and act accordingly.
While ruling BJP is going extra mile to win the 10th seat, sending Union minister Piyush Goyal to supervise the strategy, the threat of ‘switch-over’ by its MLA triggered a sense of anxiety in the BSP camp. Mayawati has called a meeting early Friday morning to plan her moves as speculations were rife about another BSP MLA supporting the BJP candidate. With courts disallowing its two MLAs to vote, the strength of the Opposition has been depleted by two.
SP MLA Nitin Agarwal has already moved to BJP along with his father. While SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has managed to get his estranged uncle Shivapal Yadav and Independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh to his side, the BJP camp claimed on Thursday night that BSP’s nominee Bhimrao Ambedkar, backed by SP, Congress and RLD, was not going to get more than 33 votes.
As per electoral college of UP assembly, minimum 37 votes are required for a candidate to win. For 10 seats that are vacant, there are 11 candidates in fray. While eight BJP nominees, including Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, and SP’s Jaya Bachchan are sure to get through, BSP’s Ambedkar and BJP’s Anil Agarwal will be battling it out for the last seat.
Earlier in the day, Samajwadi Party made a desperate attempt to get NISHAD party MLA from Bhadohi, Vijay Mishra, to vote for SP candidate Jaya Bachchan. Mishra, who was approached by senior SP leader Shivpal Yadav, said that though he shared good relation with him, would still vote for the BJP. Meanwhile, Mayawati made a desperate attempt by asking her close lieutenant and MP Satish Chandra Mishra and party legislative party leader Lalji Verma to attend a lunch hosted by the Congress for its MLAs.