Lucknow: Fresh calculations are back on the drawing board of Uttar Pradesh politics as the dominant players of the ruling BJP and Opposition SP and BSP draw up new strategies for the upcoming state legislative council election.
The election to 13 seats of the legislative council will be held on April 26. Counting of votes will take place on the same day.
After securing a thumping win in the recently-concluded biennial Rajya Sabha elections from the state by bagging nine out of 10 seats that went to polls, the BJP is confident to secure at least 11 Council seats going by its brute strength in the Assembly along with it allies.
In the 100-member UP Legislative Council, the BJP has just 13 members. The Samajwadi Party has 61 members, the BSP nine, the Congress two, the RLD one and others 12. Two seats are vacant.
UP BJP vice-president JPS Rathore said to ensure victory, a candidate needs 29 first preference votes.
Arithmetically, the BJP and its allies are likely to win 11 out of 13 seats comfortably and still be left with five additional votes, he said.
Exuding confidence on the ruling party increasing its tally in the Upper House, UP BJP spokesperson Alok Awasthi said, "Our party will register a thumping win in the legislative council polls."
Samajwadi Party spokesperson and MLC Sunil Singh Sajan said the SP-BSP combine will comfortably win the two legislative council seats.
"With the backing of the BSP and the Congress along with mass support, we will ensure a grand performance in the Lok Sabha polls. In this (Council) polls, the BJP may have the numbers, but in the general elections we will have people's mandate," SP chief and former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said.
His 'feuding' uncle Shivpal Yadav also said that the SP-BSP understanding would "wipe out the BJP" in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The Samajwadi Party's confidence stems from the victory of the SP-BSP combine in the recent Lok Sabha bypolls. The combine struck gold in the 'saffron' bastion of Gorakhpur --- associated with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Phulpur -- represented by his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya.
UP Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said, "Going purely by numbers, we cannot field any party candidate (for the Council polls), but we can support the candidates from other like-minded parties. However, we expect the BSP to support our candidate (if we decide to field one), since we supported the BSP candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections."
According to the Election Commission, tenures of 13 MLCs, including SP national president Akhilesh Yadav and two ministers in the Yogi Adityanath government - Mahendra Kumar Singh and Mohsin Raza - will end on May 5.
Of the 13 seats falling vacant, seven were held by the SP, two each by the BJP and the BSP, and one RLD. The thirteenth seat was held by former SP minister Ambika Chaudhary. His seat fell vacant when he switched over from the SP to the BSP.
Apart from the SP chief, six other MLCs from the party whose term is coming to an end are state SP chief Naresh Chandra Uttam, senior party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary, Umar Ali Khan, Madhu Gupta, Ramsakal Gurjar and Vijay Yadav.
MLCs from other parties whose term ends on May 5 are Vijay Pratap and Sunil Kumar Chittor (both BSP) and Chaudhary Mushtaq -- the lone RLD member.
Though the BJP and its allies have 324 MLAs in the 403-member state Assembly, it may not get the required strength in the Upper House to get the bills passed even after winning 11 of the 13 seats by dint of its strength.
During the winter session of the state legislature last year, the Yogi Aditynanath government had suffered embarrassment when it failed to ensure the passage of the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime (UPCOC) Bill in the Upper House.
The notification for the legislative council polls will be issued on April 9. The last date for filing nominations is April 16.
Scrutiny of nominations will be done on April 17, while the last date for withdrawal of the same is April 19.