The Rajya Sabha elections to be held on March 23 is sure going to be an interesting affair. The BJP has spruced up the battle by deciding more seat than it is certain of winning. The hope would be to sway into its fold some dissidents from other parties.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is assured of 8 seats, but it has fielded 9 candidates. Similarly, in Maharashtra where it is assured of 3 seats, the BJP has fielded 4. In Gujarat, 3 candidates have been fielded where the party is certain of winning 2.
This aggression by the BJP was on expected lines as it is short in the Rajya Sabha. The NDA currently has 83 members in the 245 member Rajya Sabha. The BJP alone has 58 seats and there are currently 7 vacancies in the upper house. It hopes to increase its tally to 92 following the March 23 elections.
In Gujarat where it has fielded an extra candidate, the party hopes to bank in on the discontentment among the Congress leaders. The BJP currently has 99 members in the legislature and this leaves it with 23 surplus votes. It would need 38 votes in total to elect the additional member to the Upper House.
In Maharashtra, a candidate needs 42 votes to win. With 122 members, the BJP can easily send three of its candidates to the Rajya Sabha. However, the party decided to filed Vijaya Rahatkar, the fourth candidate. The Shiv Sena has 63 members which means it has a surplus of 21 votes after it elects one of its candidates.
In Uttar Pradesh, the gamble is for the 9th seat. Naresh Agarwal who was denied a Rajya Sabha ticket quit the Samajwadi Party to join the BJP. His close aid, Anil Agarwal is contesting the 9th seat as a BJP candidate. Agarwal has already said that his son who is a member of the UP assembly would vote for Anil Agarwal.
In UP, an RS candidate needs 37 votes to be elected. The BJP has 311 members and with its allies, the tally stands at 324. 296 votes would ensure that the BJP elects 8 of its candidates. This would leave the party with 18 surplus votes. On this basis, Agarwal would need 10 more votes.