Fourteen candidates, including 11 from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), field their nomination papers for the biennial polls to the Rajya Sabha, scheduled for March 23, officials said.
While the BJP, based on its own strength in the state assembly, can easily send eight of its candidates to the upper House of the Parliament, it has fielded 11 candidates.
The first to file the nomination papers was Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who flanked by state BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey, Deputy Chief Ministers Dinesh Sharma and Keshav Prasad Maurya, and other cabinet members of the state government submitted his set of nomination papers to the returning officer.
BSP's Bhim Rao Ambedkar filed his nomination again on Monday while Mahesh Chandra Sharma of the Jan Sangh also filed his papers for the RS seat. Actress-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan has already filed her papers as the candidate of the Samajwadi Party (SP).
Later, Anil Agarwal reached the state assembly premises as the ninth candidate of the BJP and filed his papers. In a surprise move later, BJP 's state general secretary Vidyasagar Sonkar and Salil Bishnoi also filed a set of papers. Though their names have not figured in the official list of the BJP, the move is being seen in political circles as a "Plan B' of the ruling party.
The picture will be clearer on March 15, the day of withdrawal of nominations. While eight of the 11 names can easily cruise through, party insiders say, there is a "game plan that would be understood at the right time".
On basis of its 324 members, including allies, in the state assembly, eight BJP candidates will sail through the finishing line easily and it would be surplus of 28 votes still.
BJP strategists are hoping to win over some opposition legislators from the SP, BSP and the Congress, so that they can vote in their favor.
Senior SP leader Naresh Agarwal, who joined the BJP earlier in the day, has also announced that his son Nitin Agarwal, sitting MLA from Hardoi, will be voting for BJP. The saffron camp is also eyeing the chunk of Independent legislators, some of whom have voted with it on some occasions in the past.
Seven legislators of Congress are supporting Mayawati's candidate.
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