Preeti, a new entrant, joins fray changing political equations
Lucknow: Preeti Mahapatra, a less known business woman from Gujarat, has made Rajya Sabha election from Uttar Pradesh interesting for more reasons than one. First, it has made polling inevitable. Second, history will be repeated in the state after nearly ten years as in the intervening period candidates were elected unopposed.
She has also made it an election to watch in view of fear of horse-trading. Anxiety, understandably, is writ large on all faces which will remain unchanged till the last minute, at least till the last day of withdrawal of candidature.
That she is wife of a businessman, in his own right, has increased the fear of party members changing sides, as has allegedly happened sometime in the past. She is close to some BJP leaders and is running a Non- government Organisation which is linked to the Prime Minister’s cleanliness mission, has added to their worries.
In any case, Preeti has added something to otherwise lacklustre biennial poll. No party is breathing easy. All candidates are on tenterhooks. She may jeopardise chances of one of the candidates, at least this is what is being feared.
Before she joined the fray, eleven candidates fielded by the ruling SP(7), the BSP (2), Congress (1) and the BJP (1) were assured of victory. All the calculations may go wrong if, for some reason or other, some party members back her. Presently, the BJP has seven extra votes and BSP eight. One SP rebel and a small party member may also support her. But all these are not enough to get her through.
At least 34 first preference votes are needed to sail through without hitch. She is much short of the magical figure, going by the present number. Her managerial skill, which will be at test, remains to be seen.