BJP tactics baffle Opp
The BJP has injected a dose of excitement in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls by fielding “extra’ candidates from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.
This could give nightmare to the Opposition parties by opening the possibility of cross- voting from “disgruntled” elements.
In UP, where the BJP and its allies have 325 out of 403 Assembly seats, the party has decided to go for the “kill” by fielding businessman Anil Agarwal as its “ninth” candidate though on its own the BJP is capable of ensuring win of only eight candidates.
After electing eight candidates requiring 37 votes each, the BJP would have 28 spare votes, which would go in favour of its ninth candidate. The party would still need additional nine votes. Three Independent MLAs are set to vote for BJP candidates.
Much to the discomfiture of the SP-BSP-Congress tie-up, SP Rajya Sabha member Naresh Agarwal, along with his SP MLA son Nitin Agarwal, joined the BJP, thus reducing the number of votes in favour of BSP candidate banking on support of the Congress and surplus votes of the Samajwadi Party. After joining the BJP, Naresh said his son would vote in favour of the BJP candidates in the Rajya Sabha polls.
The SP (47 MLAs) has fielded Jaya Bachchan as its candidate and promised to shift its surplus ten votes to the BSP. But with its legislator Nitin joining the BJP, the SP would now be one vote short. Thus, after electing Bachchan, the SP would have only nine spare votes to shift in favour of the BSP candidate.
Even after Congress offering the support of its seven MLAs to the BSP candidate, Maywati’s party, which has 19 MLAs of its own and is hoping to get support of nine SP MLAs, would still be short of numbers.
“Our nine candidates have filed their complete papers. Those with hardly any numbers fielded their candidate and hence it was decided to field nine candidates as we have votes of 28 additional MLAs and we believe that all those who believe in democracy would support us and ensure victory of our nine candidates,” said State BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey after Anil filed his nomination. Anil is a businessman from Meerut.
The BJP had officially announced eight candidates, who filed their papers on the last day on Monday. The candidates are Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, former SP MLC Ashok Vajpayee, Sakaldeep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Dr Anil Jain, GVL Narsimha Rao, Harnath Singh Yadav.
Two other BJP-supported candidates are former BJP MLA from Kanpur, Salil Bishnoi and State BJP general secretary Vidyasagar Sonkar of Jaunpur. BJP sources said these two candidates would withdraw their nominations.
Besides the BJP, the lone BSP candidate BR Ambedkar, who has already filed his nomination, submitted a second set of nomination supported by SP and Congress MLAs on Monday. Bollywood actor Jaya has already filed her nomination as SP candidate on Friday last. In Gujarat too, the BJP has made the contest interesting for the four seats on offering by fielding an “extra” candidate, whose victory would require cross voting from the Opposition camp. Eight nominations were filed on Monday for the four seats in the State.
In the last polls for three RS polls in the second half of 2017, senior Congress leader and political adviser of former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel could win by thinnest possible margin.
In the House of 182 legislators, BJP has 99 MLAs and Congress 77. Going by this statistic, both Congress and BJP should win two seats each.
However speculations over the battle of prestige in the Prime Minister’s home-State would go on till March 15 which is the last date for withdrawal of candidature.
On the last day of filing nominations, the BJP fielded three candidates, including two Ministers and sitting RS members - Mansukh Mandavia, Minister of State (MoS) for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Chemical & Fertilizers; and Parshottam Rupala, MoS for Panchayati Raj, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare. The third candidate of BJP is Kiritsinh Rana, former Gujarat Minister.
Former Union Minister in the previous UPA Government Naran Rathwa and senior leader of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Amee Yagnik filed nomination as Congress candidates. Of the three Independent candidates, including Rajni Patel, PK Valera and P Moolani, Valera has been supported by Congress party.
On the filing of Rana as BJP’s third candidate, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said even after electing two candidates - Mandavia and Rupala comfortably, BJP would have luxury of some extra first preference votes which can could be transferred to Rana.
Meanwhile, controversial Rajya Sabha MP Naresh and a known party hopper who lost out in the race for re-nomination to the Upper House to Jaya, on Monday quit the SP and joined the BJP.
“I have been compared with those who dance and work in films,” Naresh said referring to Jaya’s re-nomination at his expense. Naresh said his MLA son is joining BJP and would vote for it in RS polls.
Naresh, who has made strong comments in the past against the policies of the BJP Government and earned ire of the BJP leaders, joined the party in the presence of the Union Minister Piyush Goyal. He was seen as BJP-baiter and had mocked Hindu gods in the Rajya Sabha, questioned the competence of Indian army, and described Kulbhushan Yadav, who is in Paksitan’s custody, as a terrorist.
Even as he joined a new party, Naresh expressed his affection for SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav, but said the party’s strength in UP has depleted.
He praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah and claimed that the people of his community were solidly behind the saffron party. Naresh’s term as Rajya Sabha member is ending on April 2.
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