With filing of nominations for Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council elections coming to a close tomorrow, the ruling BJP today sounded confident of bagging 11 out of 13 seats going to polls on April 26, even as the saffron party released its list of candidates for the biennial elections.
In a statement issued by the party's central office in Delhi, the BJP announced 10 candidates for the state council polls.
A senior party leader requesting anonymity said that the 11th seat is likely to be used to accommodate Ashish Singh Patel, who is a senior leader of the Apna Dal-(Sonelal). The AD(S) is an ally of the BJP in the state and currently has nine MLAs in the Assembly.
The BJP and its allies enjoy a brute strength of 324 out of the 403 seats in the Assembly. Arithmetically, they are likely to win 11 out of 13 seats comfortably and still be left with some additional votes.
Though the BJP and its allies have the majority in the Assembly, they may not get the required strength in the Upper House to get Bills passed even after winning 11 of the 13 seats by the dint of their strength. Even if they win the 11 seats, they will be far short of the half-way mark in the council.
During the Winter Session of the state legislature last year, the state government had suffered an embarrassment when it failed to ensure the passage of the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime (UPCOC) Bill in the council.
The notification for the council polls was 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 candidature is April 19.
For the remaining two seats, the Samajwadi Party has given up one seat for the Bahujan Samaj Party, taking the new-found bonhomie between the two parties a step foward.
The SP, headed by Akhilesh Yadav, had fielded two candidates, but withdrew one of them, paving the way for Mayawati's party to contest one seat as a quid pro quo for her support to the SP in the Lok Sabha bypolls to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, which halted the saffron party's victory march in the bastion of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath (in Gorakhpur).
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won the Phulpur parliamentary constituency for the first time.
However, in the Rajya Sabha elections, it was a sweet revenge for the BJP, as it ensured victory of all its nine candidates, days after it lost two crucial seats in the Lok Sabha bypolls in the state.
"The Samajwadi Party is contesting on one seat in the legislative council polls. Initially, we had decided to contest two seats, but later we decided to give one seat to the BSP to strengthen our electoral understanding," he said.
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 by the RLD. The 13th 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 terms are 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.
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