Rajya Sabha Polls: BJP dents opposition unity, wins nine candidates
Lucknow: Scripting a resounding political victory in Rajya Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) romped home with nine of the 10 seats including that of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday. The remaining one seat was grabbed by Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Jaya Bachchan.
Despite electoral understanding between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, the latter could not send its candidate to Upper House of the Parliament, a setback for Opposition.
The winning candidates are - Arun Jaitley (BJP), GVL Narasimha Rao (BJP), Anil Jain (BJP), Sakal Deep Rajbhar (BJP), Harinath Singh Yadav (BJP), Ashok Bajpai (BJP), Anil Agarwal (BJP), Kanta Kardam (BJP), Vijaypal Singh Tomar (BJP) and Jaya Bachchan (SP).
Counting of votes for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh began at 7 pm on Friday, two hours late than the scheduled time. The voting ended at 4 pm.
In all, 400 legislators cast their votes in the crucial elections in which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded nine candidates, and Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have nominated one each. The Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 members.
Two of the three legislators who could not cast their votes, Mukhtar Ansari of the BSP and SP legislator Hari Om Yadav, are in jail, while the Noorpur seat in Bijnor fell vacant following the death of BJP MLA Lokendra Pratap Singh.
The Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) have extended their support to BSP candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Nishad Party legislator Vijay Mishra, BSP's Anil Singh and and SP's Nitin Agarwal have openly broken ranks with their parties and voted for the BJP.
Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka 'Raja Bhaiyya', an Independent MLA from Kunda in Pratapgarh, however, did not reveal his cards, but said before voting that he was with the SP, irrespective of its new-found alliance with Mayawati's BSP.
During her tenure as Chief Minister, Mayawati had jailed the Kunda legislator and his father. Since then the two have never seen eye to eye.
He was present at the dinner hosted by SP president Akhilesh Yadav two days back and was widely believed to have thrown in his lot with the opposition camp. Akhilesh Yadav also tweeted his thanks to Raja Bhaiyya for his vote in favour of the SP candidate.
But, his meeting with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath soon after casting his vote has got the rumour mills working overtime on the possibility of his switching sides.
Both sides are, however, maintaining that their candidates will win and have trashed reports of cross-voting against party lines.