Uttar Pradesh: Samajwadi Party may not field extra candidate in Rajya Sabha elections

The Samajwadi Party (SP) may not field an extra candidate for the forthcoming Rajya Sabha elections to 11 Uttar Pradesh seats.

If the Samajwadi Party contests the extra (fourth) seat, the move will not only necessitate voting, but will also bring in the risk of cross-voting which could hurt its prospects due to the purported unhappiness of the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia (PSP-L) chief Shivpal Yadav and SP leader Azam Khan.

The BJP, according to its strength in the UP assembly, can send eight members to the Upper House of Parliament. The SP can send three members. No other party can stake claim to win any seat.

If the BJP fields eight and the SP three nominees, then all the candidates will win unopposed. If the number of candidates goes beyond 11, voting will be held.

The Rajya Sabha members are elected by MLAs in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. For one seat, 34 votes will be required. The BJP and allies have 273 votes, and the SP and allies 125. After the claim on eight seats, the BJP will be left with only one residual vote. The SP will have 23 residual votes.

“The party has not decided yet if it would field an extra candidate or not. Yes, we have a sizable number of residual votes. Discussions are on,” said SP national secretary and state spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary.

In case the Samajwadi Party decides to field a fourth candidate or the BJP chooses to field a ninth candidate, then the Shivpal and Azam camps may come into play.

Apart from this, the Samajwadi Party also cannot be confident of five floating votes–two of Raghuraj Pratap Singh’s Jansatta Dal (Loktantrik), two of the Congress, and one of the BSP.

The Election Commission of India on Thursday announced the schedule for the biennial election for 11 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. The polling would be held on June 10 and the results would be announced the same day.

Among the 11 members of Rajya Sabha from UP retiring on July 4, five belong to the BJP, three to the Samajwadi Party, two to Bahujan Samaj Party and one to Congress.

Rajendra Chaudhary also said: “Shivpal Yadav and Azam Khan, all members of the SP and allies will vote for the SP candidates.”

On the other hand, PSP-L spokesperson Deepak Mishra said: “Shivpal Yadav ji has not decided yet”.

Lobbying for the RS nominations in both the BJP and SP camps is already on. The BJP may repeat some of the five of its RS members retiring on July 4, people aware of the matter said.

The SP is not likely to repeat any of its three members who are due to retire. The SP is likely to field Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Jayant Chaudhary and retired IAS officer Alok Ranjan on two of the three seats.

Jayant and his RLD have been long-standing alliance partners of the SP. Alok Ranjan, who was the chief secretary of UP when Akhilesh was the chief minister, had joined the SP ahead of the 2022 UP assembly polls. He is considered the chief architect of the SP’s 2022 poll manifesto.

For the third seat, the SP may field its Maharasthra state chief Abu Asim Azmi. Those aware of the Rajya Sabha poll related developments in the party say the Azam Khan camp is exerting pressure to resend Azam’s wife Tazeen Fatima to Rajya Sabha. Her first term as a Rajya Sabha member had ended in October 2019.

Samajwadi Party (SP) alliance partner Om Prakash Rajbhar, the chief of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), is also angling for the RS nomination from SP for his son Arvind Rajbhar, who had contested the 2022 UP assembly elections from Shivpur, but lost.

SBSP national spokesperson Piyush Mishra said: “If Akhileshji is mulling over sending RLD chief Jayant Chaudhary to the Rajya Sabha, then SBSP, too, certainly would be looking for a nomination. The RLD had contested 38 seats in the SP alliance and won only eight while the SBSP contested only 16 and won seven.”

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