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Rajya Sabha polls: BJP, SP pull all stops to cobble numbers

(The New Indian Express): 

LUCKNOW: With the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh changing colours rapidly on the eve of Rajya Sabha polls to 10 seats, the voting for which is scheduled to take place on Friday, major political players including BJP and SP on Wednesday remained busy cobbling required numbers to see their candidates through.

Interestingly, Wednesday was marked by marathon meetings of respective BJP and SP MLAs in state capital Lucknow. The saffron party did not leave anything to chance and CM Yogi Adityanath held a
meeting of all 324 MLAs of party and allies to ensure the passage of its 9th candidate on Friday. SP MLA Nitin Agarwal was also seen at CM residence.

Even BJP central leadership also pitched in to save the prestige. After having placated sulking Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief OP Rajbhar on Tuesday in Delhi, BJP chief Amit Shah also
gave a hearing to Apna Dal chief and minister in Modi cabinet Anupriya Patel who had approached him with the concern over the treatment her nine MLAs were getting in BJP rule.

Later in the day, Rajbhar came out to announce support of his four MLAs to BJP’s 9th candidate Anil Agarwal pitted against SP backed BSP candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar. He claimed that though he was
approached by SP and BSP for support, he was content after discussing his issues with BJP chief Amit Shah and anticipated the complete redressal.

As per the highly-placed sources, the BJP was also in talks with MLAs from rival camps including Congress. With 312 MLAs in UP, the party can on its own send eight candidates to the Upper House.
Notably, a candidate needs 37 votes are needed to ensure safe passage of a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh. As of now the BJP has about 28 extra votes and required just nine more votes for its ninth
candidate’s win.

If sources are to be believed, the BJP is also trying to woo RLD MLA from Chapprauli, Sahender Singh Ramala, along with three independents, including Raghuraj Pratap Singh and his aide Vinod Saroj.
Similarly, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had called a meeting of Samajwadi Party leaders in Lucknow on Wednesday to work out a strategy. Having skipped the crucial meeting convened by nephew and party chief, SP MLA Shivpal Yadav left everyone guessing. Hours before the meeting was scheduled, the Jaswantnagar MLA left for Etawah to attend a pre-scheduled event. In all, five MLAs, including Azam Khan, his MLA son Abdullah, Nitin Agarwal, failed to turn up for meeting.

However, Shivpal confirmed that he would open his cards on Thursday.. At the same time, Samajwadi Party Gaurganj MLA hosted a dinner of party leaders, MPs, MLAs and former ministers. The dinner was attended by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav with wife and Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav. Even Shivpal was also present in the dinner. Though party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and national general secretary Ram Gopal stayed away from the dinner, independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya turned up at the fag end making his intentions clear.

(This story has not been edited by N24 staff and is The Indian Express auto-generated from a RSS feed.)

Published Date: Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 | 12:45 AM

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