RS poll defections bolster BJP hold on oppn bastions

| | Lucknow
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RS poll defections bolster BJP hold on oppn bastions

Thursday, 29 February 2024 | PNS | Lucknow

In a calculated political manoeuver, the Bharatiya Janata Party has made significant strides in consolidating its influence in six Lok Sabha constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, notably Amethi and Rae Bareli, during the recent Rajya Sabha polls where defections bolstered the ruling party’s hold, securing eight out of 10 seats.

The Samajwadi Party MLAs who cross-voted in favour of BJP belong to Amethi, Rae Bareli, Azamgarh, Ayodhya, Ambedkar Nagar and Jalaun.

The BJP orchestrated an unexpected twist by securing the support of sitting SP MLAs from the region, most notably SP chief whip Manoj Pandey of Unchahar in Rae Bareli, who crossed party lines to vote for BJP candidates. This paradigm shift in allegiance suggests Pandey’s alignment with the BJP’s agenda, signaling a potential reconfiguration of political dynamics in the region.

Furthermore, three SP lawmakers from the Amethi-Rae Bareli corridor defected to back BJP candidates, breaching the SP’s stronghold and challenging the Congress bastion of Amethi and Rae Bareli.

The ramifications of these strategic moves transcend the Rajya Sabha polls, forming a crucial component of the BJP’s broader strategy to field formidable candidates in the 16 seats it lost in Uttar Pradesh during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Notably, Rae Bareli, the sole Lok Sabha constituency in UP retained by the Congress in 2019, is among the targeted seats.

Speculations abound regarding the potential candidature of Manoj Pandey from Rae Bareli, as BJP leaders affirm their commitment to nominating strong contenders in the region.

In addition to Manoj Pandey’s defection, Rakesh Pratap Singh, the SP MLA from Gauriganj in Amethi, also switched sides, citing allegiance to “Lord Ram”. Meanwhile, Maharaji Prajapati, the SP MLA from Amethi, abstained from voting. Rae Bareli and Amethi are two of the 17 Lok Sabha seats conceded by the SP to the Congress.

Through these strategic realignments during the Rajya Sabha polls, the BJP aims to bolster its presence in Congress bastions, laying the groundwork for its electoral strategy leading up to 2024.

Speculation surrounds Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Amethi-Rae Bareli, with local party leaders advocating that Rahul contest from Amethi and Priyanka Gandhi from Rae Bareli, considering Sonia Gandhi’s decision to opt for the Rajya Sabha due to health concerns.

UP Congress president Ajay Rai mentioned that both Rae Bareli and Amethi have been traditionally held by the Gandhi family, hinting at ongoing deliberations regarding candidacies for these constituencies.

The BJP’s strategic manoeuvers extend to Ambedkar Nagar, where Bahujan Samaj Party MP Ritesh Pandey joined the BJP with the support of his father Rakesh Pandey, potentially smoothing the electoral path in that constituency. Additionally, the induction of Abhay Singh into the BJP aims to consolidate Thakur voters in the Ayodhya region.

In parallel developments, the BJP’s concerted efforts to gain ground in Ambedkar Nagar, Ayodhya, Prayagraj and Jalaun signify an intensifying electoral battleground in Uttar Pradesh as the political landscape continues to evolve, setting the stage for a fiercely contested 2024 Lok Sabha election.

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