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Hectic parlays for Uttar Pradesh seats amid Rajya Sabha elections, SP Chief Whip resigns, 8 MLAs cross-vote for BJP: Here is what we know so far

The development comes after 8 SP MLAs including Manoj Pandey skipped a dinner meeting called by party Chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday, 26th February, ahead of elections for the Upper House

On Tuesday (27th February), the Samajwadi Party suffered a major dent when the party’s chief whip Manoj Pandey resigned from his post ahead of the crucial voting for Rajya Sabha seats. Pandey is an SP MLA from Unchahar in the Raebareli district. Ahead of the Rajya Sabha elections, he announced that he would be voting for the BJP candidate. The Samajwadi Party accepted his resignation and Pandey’s nameplate was removed from outside the chief whip’s office. 

SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav accused Pandey of not being courageous enough to stand against the BJP and added that there is no place for such leaders in the party. He said, “Action will be taken because our party leaders want such people to be kept away from the party…”

Yadav, however, accused the BJP of putting ‘pressure’ through agencies or otherwise to force their leaders to vote for them. 

Voting is currently underway for 15 Rajya Sabha seats from three states and the results for these seats will be announced on the same day. However, political activities intensified in UP where 10 Rajya Sabha seats are at stake.

While BJP fielded 8 candidates, SP has 3 candidates in the fray. As per UP assembly strength, BJP can secure 7 seats while SP was poised to win 3 seats but with cross-voting and new political alliances being forged in the state, SP may lose one seat to the BJP. 

Leaders of both NDA and I.N.D.I Alliance have expressed confidence of making their candidates win the contested 10th seat. Yadav said, “We hope all three candidates of Samajwadi Party will win.” 

UP Deputy CM Brajesh Pathak said, ” MLAs support and blessings are with BJP’s candidates. The results will be in favour of BJP…all candidates of BJP will win”

Apart from Manoj Pandey’s resignation, reports claim that around 8 SP MLAs could cross-vote for BJP. The development comes after 8 SP MLAs including Manoj Pandey skipped a dinner meeting called by party Chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday in the wake of elections for the Upper House. 

On the condition of anonymity, a senior SP leader said that the party chief had called a meeting to brief the MLAs about the voting process of the Rajya Sabha elections. However, Manoj Pandey and seven other MLAs – Mukesh Verma, Maharaji Prajapati, Pooja Pal, Rakesh Pandey, Vinod Chaturvedi, Rakesh Pratap Singh and Abhay Singh did not attend the meeting.

As per the latest reports, around 5 SP MLAs also met UP CM Yogi Adityanath after casting votes.

The number game explained

UP state assembly has a strength of 403 members where BJP is the largest party with 252 MLAs followed by SP having 108 MLAs. To get elected to the Rajya Sabha from UP, a candidate needs nearly 37 first-preference votes. 

SP’s I.N.D.I. alliance partner Congress has just two seats. BJP’s NDA ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has 13 seats, the NISHAD Party has six seats, RLD has nine seats, SBSP has six, Jansatta Dal Loktantrik has two and the BSP has one seat. Four seats are currently vacant. 

After the announcement of Bharat Ratna to Chaudhary Charan Singh, his grandson Jayant Chaudhary had already declared RLD’s support for the BJP. RLD’s nine MLAs met with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and attended a strategy session at Lok Bhawan with NDA partners. Additionally, despite outreach from Akhilesh Yadav himself, Raja Bhaiyya’s Jansatta Dal-Loktantrik has promised to extend the support of its two MLAs to the BJP.

As per numbers, seven BJP candidates are guaranteed to win and the party candidates on these secured seats include 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. 

But with the BJP fielding Sanjay Seth as its eighth candidate, a keen contest is on the cards in one of the seats. The SP has fielded actor MP Jaya Bachchan, retired IAS officer Alok Ranjan, and Ramji Lal Suman.

Unlike Lok Sabha which dissolves and goes for elections on a regular period, mainly a five year period, the Rajya Sabha is a continuous house that sees biennial elections for 33% of seats. The tenure for Rajya Sabha MPs is six years. 

(With agency inputs).

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