Lucknow: All eyes are on Uttar Pradesh which will elect ten Rajya Sabha members on Friday. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which can get eight candidates elected easily based on its strength in the Assembly, has raised the stakes by fielding a ninth candidate.
Here's are some key facts pertaining to UP:
- The country's most populous state sends 31 MPs to the 245-member Rajya Sabha. Besides Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the others in the fray are from BJP are Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Anil Jain, Harnath Singh Yadav, GVL Narasimha Rao and Anil Kumar Agarwal.
- The four-MLA strong Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), after being placated by BJP chief Amit Shah, and the Apna Dal (Sonelal) with nine MLAs have decided to vote for BJP nominees.
- The BJP and its allies have 324 MLAs in the 403-member Assembly after the death of its Noorpur MLA in a road accident recently.
- SP, which has again fielded actress-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan, has ten 10 extra votes and would like to reciprocate the favour of one-time arch-rival Mayawati, whose BSP's support in the Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls, helped it trounce the BJP.
- However, SP legislator from Hardoi, Nitin Agarwal, son of Naresh Agarwal, has thrown his weight behind the BJP, soon after his father crossed over to the party.
- Mayawati, with just 19 legislators, needs 18 more votes to get her sole candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar to the Rajya Sabha. The nine votes of the SP, seven of the Congress and one of the Rashtriya Lok Dal make 17 votes for her candidate.
- Some SP leaders and lawmakers including Azam Khan, his son and legislator Abdulla Azam, and even Akhilesh Yadav's estranged uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav did not turn up at the meeting of the party legislators called by the party chief on Wednesday.
- While they explained different reasons for their absence and vouched for their loyalty to the party, Akhilesh is taking no chances and publicly showed affection and regard for Shivpal at the Wednesday dinner at a five-star hotel, IANS reported.
- BSP legislator Mukhtar Ansari and SP's Hari Om Yadav - both languishing in prisons, have also been allowed by the Election Commission to vote in the crucial elections.
- This came even as BSP's Rajya Sabha member and eminent lawyer Satish Chandra Mishra had rushed to the Allahabad High Court seeking permission for the two jailed lawmakers to cast their votes.
- The Congress, which just has seven legislators and has pledged support to BSP candidate. State party chief Raj Babbar, and party veterans Pramod Tiwari and PL Punia are reportedly trying to ensure that the flock remains together.
(With IANS inputs)