Preeti Mahapatra in the fray, queering pitch for Congress, SP
Lucknow: The non-withdrawal of candidature by Preeti Mahapatra who has filed her nomination papers for the Rajya Sabha election from Uttar Pradesh as an independent has queered the pitch for the Congress as well as the Samajwadi Party (SP). The Congress is five short of the required number (34) to sail through.
It had pinned it hope on the Samajwadi Party but the party itself will need some help from others to get elected all the seven candidates it has fielded. A noted lawyer and senior party leader , Kapil Sibal is the Congress candidate. He had lost his Lok Sabha election in 2014 and hoped to get back to Parliment through this election.
The party has 29 members in the assembly but as many as five may go against him which may make his chances more difficult. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has 12 surplus votes but it is unlikely to back the Congress candidate.
The SP on the other hand has strength to elect only six candidates . For the seventh member it too has to depend on others. Eighteen first preference votes are need to be in the hunt.
The Rashtriya Lok Dal of Ajit Singh , smaller parties and independents have not opened their cards. In addition the Bhartiya Janta Party has not openly said whom its thirteen members will back. Chances are that they will go for the independent candidate. Presence of a large number of party members during filing of nomination by her and her Gujarat connections are a pointer.
But even if the party’s surplus votes go in her favour she will be much short of the number. She may seek support from nine-member RLD, smaller parties and independents to partially fill the gap. The possibility of cross-voting and horse-trading is, therefore , not ruled out.
Open voting, unlike the upper house election, has not removed this doubt. The Election Commission favours a change in the system and has written a letter to the speaker in this connection but the change may not be made in this election as polling dates, June 10- 11, are at hand.