It’s BJP vs SP as 11 Rajya Sabha seats from UP set for polls

The elections are especially significant considering past instances, especially in 2020, when Rajya Sabha polls have led to large-scale shifting of loyalties.

In 2020, a group of BSP MLAs had rebelled against the party’s candidate for the Rajya Sabha election and met the SP leadership, prompting BSP chief Mayawati to say that her 2019 alliance with the SP had been a “big mistake” and that she would do anything to defeat the SP in future elections.

Of the 11 seats that fall vacant on July 4, five are of the BJP, four of the SP, two of BSP and one of Congress. However, this time round, the Congress, which has only two members in the Assembly, and the BSP, which has one member, may not be able to get their candidates elected to the Upper House. Of 245 seats in Rajya Sabha, 31 members are elected from Uttar Pradesh.

Members of the Upper House are elected by members of the state legislature. Sources said that about 37 votes would be required to send one member to Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, which has 403 members.

While the BJP has 255 members in the state Assembly, its alliance partner Apna Dal has 12, while another ally, NISHAD party, has six members. The SP has 111 members in the Assembly, while its alliance partner RLD has eight and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party has six.

Considering the numbers, it would be easier for BJP and its alliance partners to send at least seven members to the Upper House and the SP would be able to send at least three members to the Rajya Sabha.

Thus, while the fate of 10 members out of 11 can be ascertained, it is the 11th seat for which there is likely to be a contest if both the parties decide to field their candidates.

While the Congress is likely to support the SP, it is the smaller parties, who are likely to emerge as significant players, especially the Jansatta Dal Loktantrik party of Raghuraj Pratap Singh, which has two members.

With Kapil Sibal’s term ending this July, the Congress will have no member from UP in the Upper House.

The BSP will be reduced to a single member from Uttar Pradesh — Ramji Lal, who was elected in 2021 — as two of its members, Satish Chandra Mishra and Ashok Sidhartha, are set to retire in July.

Three of the SP’s five members are retiring next month — Sukhram Singh, Revati Raman Singh and Vishambhar Prasad Nishad — and the party is hoping to win back these seats, besides sending an additional member to Rajya Sabha.

The five BJP members whose term ends on July 3 include Sayed Zafar Islam, Shiv Pratap, Jaya Prakash, Surendra Singh and builder-turned-politician Sanjay Seth.

While the BJP is expecting to send at least seven members from Uttar Pradesh to Rajya Sabha, all eyes are on who would be the potential candidates. Sources inform that keeping the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in mind, caste and local equations will play a significant role in deciding the candidates.

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