Lucknow: In a nail biting finish, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to get all its nine candidates in the Rajya Sabha polls elected from Uttar Pradesh on Friday.
Soon after the results were clear, state BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey said it was a victory of democracy and would boost development-oriented politics in the state.
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The BJP candidates were Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, national general secretary Anil Jain, spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao, Vijay Pal Tomar, Kanta Kardam, Ashok Bajpai, Harnath Yadav, Sakaldeep Rajbhar and Anil Agarwal.
Samajwadi Party (SP)`s Jaya Bachchan was also elected to the upper House for her straight fourth term.
The victory of all the nine BJP candidates is being seen in political circles, especially in the ruling party, as a sweet revenge over the sudden coming together of the arch rivals SP and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which together defeated the BJP in the recent Phulpur and Gorakhpur parliamentary bypolls.
Mayawati was heavily depending on the SP`s nine votes, Congress`s seven and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD)`s one vote and was expecting that with the help of "secular forces", she would be able to push her lone candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar to the finishing line.
Her own party legislator Anil Singh, however, threw a spanner in her calculations as he voted on the voice of the "antaratma" (inner voice) and sided with the BJP. BSP legislator Mukhtar Ansari was also barred by the Allahabad High Court from taking part in the poll process, making the BSP poorer by another vote. SP MLA Hari Om Yadav also could not vote for being in jail.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath camped in the Vidhan Sabha building all through the day monitoring the voting and was reportedly working the wires to ensure that "all was going as planned".
SP`s Aman Mani Tripathi also sided with the BJP, but Kunda legislator Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka Raja Bhaiyya, however, declared that he had voted with the SP. His hatred for Mayawati, who jailed him and his father during one of her tenures, is well known. He said he was voting for the SP and not the BSP candidate.
His meeting after the vote with the Chief Minister, however, triggered speculations on whether he had switched loyalties. But, this was not to be, finally.
Counting of votes was earlier held up for two hours after complaints were raised on balloting process. The voting began earlier in the day at 9.00 a.m and 400 legislators cast their votes up to 4.00 p.m.
Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 members. Apart from Mukhtar Ansari and Hari Om Yadav who could not vote for being in jail, there was also no one to vote from the Noorpur assembly seat in Bijnore, as it lies vacant following the death of BJP MLA Lokendra Pratap Singh.
The Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had extended their support to BSP candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Like BSP`s Anil Singh, Nishad Party legislator Vijay Mishra and SP`s Nitin Agarwal also openly broke ranks with their parties and voted for the BJP. All four legislators of the Suhaildev Bahujan Samaj Party (SBSP) which is an ally of the BJP voted for it.