Political parties step-up activities for tomorrow RS, LC polls
Lucknow, Mar 27: Hectic political activities are on in the state capital with all the political parties engaged in the finalities a day before the crucial biennial elections to ten Rajya Sabha and 13 state Legislative Council seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Amid apprehension of cross voting, intimidation of voters and even use of money and muscle power by the political parties to garner support for their candidates, the prominent political parties - Samajwadi party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Congress along with the independents and smaller parties- are holding legislature party meetings today and tomorrow morning to chalk out their last minute strategy.
All eyes are, however, on 37 rebel BSP MLAs who had been recognised as a seperate group in the state assembly by the Supreme Court recently and the 16 independent legislators who hold the key to the electoral fate of 13 candidates in contention for 10 seats of Rajya Sabha and 14 candidates for the 13 Legislative Council seats in the state.
These MLAs are giving sleepless nights to the ruling party as the BSP was all out to woo them and five of them had already announced to switch over to their original party.
The elections for the Rajya Sabha would be held after six years in the state and money power would certainly play a decisive factor in winning votes. Last RS elections were held in 2000, when Loktantrik Congress candidate Rajiv Shukla won the polls by a huge margin with BJP members indulging in cross voting.
With a strength of 67 members in the UP assembly, BSP can only get through two candidates, but banking on the support of 37 rebel MLAs, it had fielded a third candidate.
On the other hand, poll managers of the Samajwadi Party are a worried lot as they are anything but fully assured about the loyality of the rebels. After the independents likley to extend support to an independent candidate in Sudhanshu Mittal -- an industrialist -- as their RS candidate, the prospects of all the five SP and one RLD candidate making it to RS would be doubtful proposition.
In case of state Legislative Council, nomination of Independent candidate Pradip Singh was rejected for not complying with Articles 3 and 36 of the Representation of People of India (RPI) Act. With this, 14 candidates are in fray for 13 seats.
Mr Janeshwar Mishra, Banwari Lal Kanchal, Veerpal Singh, Virendra Bhatia, Mahendra Mohan Gupta (all Samajwadi Party), Maulana Mahmood Madni (RLD) Kalraj Mishra, Vinay Katiyar (both BJP), industrialist Sudhanshu Mittal (independent) Balihari, Satish Chandra, Moon Kadh (BSP) and Azad Kumar Kardam (Congress) are in the fray for Rajya Sabha membership.
Candidates for the LC seats were Naresh Chandra Uttam, Khawaja Halim, Kashinath, Rakesh Singh Rana, Ramsharan Das, Dayaram Prajapati (all SP), Harpal Singh Saini (RLD), Ramapati Ram Tripathi, Ashok Dhawan, Ramnaresh Rawat (all BJP), Babu Singh Kushawaha, Jugal Kishore, Sunil Kumar (all BSP) and Matiur Rahman (Congress).
Mr Mittal's name was proposed by rebel BJP MLAs, who are now unattached in the House, along with some independents and the lone Akhil Bharatiya Congress member Akhilesh Singh.
The industrialist is reported to have close links with top BJP leaders at the Centre.
Returning officer and principal secretary (assembly) R P Pandey said here today that eleborate security arrangments have been made in and round the polling area. He said polling would start from 1100 to 1500 hrs tomorrow and counting of votes would taken from 1700 hrs.
As per assembly strength, the SP and its allies have 235 members (SP 194, RLD 15, CPI(M) 2, Loktantrik Congress 2, Akhil Bharatiya Congress 1, Unattached 5 and Independents (16), while the BJP has 83, BSP 67 and Congress 16. One seat is vacant.
A candidate has to get 37 first preference votes for winning the RS election.
Similarly, out of the 13 Council seats at stake, the ruling alliance stands to win eight seats, while the BJP and the BSP can take away two seats each. For winning the council seat, a candidate has to secure 29 first preference votes.
Meanwhile, BSP sources here today said the RS elections would be a testing ground for the ruling alliance as it might witness cross voting by the rebel BSP MLAs, who joined the Samajwadi Party in September 2003. Out of the total 38 such MLAs, five have already switched over to the BSP last week.
The ruling Samajwadi Party with the help of its allies Rashtriya Lok Dal and other smaller parties were set to win 6 out of 10 RS seat, the BJP aims at getting two seats The 10 RS members, who would be retiring on April 2 , are Mr Janeshwar Mishra and Mr Sachinnand Hari Sachi Maharaj (both SP), Mr Kalraj Mishra, Mr Ramnath Kovid, Mr Balbir Kumar Punj, and Mr Ram Baksh Singh Verma (all BJP), Mr Ghanysham Chandra Kharwar and Mr Dara Singh Chauhan (both BSP), Mr Rajiv Shukla( Akhil Bharatiya Loktrantrik Congress and Mr M M Agarwal (Independent).
However, retiring RS members, Mr Janeshwar Mishra and Mr Kalraj Mishra have been re-nominated by their respective parties.
The 10 RS seats will fall vacant on April 2, while the terms for the Council seats would expire on May 5.