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Mulayam backs Cong for RS seat

Lucknow, Dec. 10: The Samajwadi Party today supported a Congress candidate for a Rajya Sabha seat from the state, suggesting Mulayam Singh Yadav is reluctant to rock the boat in spite of the Congress rout in the Assembly elections.

Two Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh had fallen vacant after the death of Samajwadi MP Mohan Singh and the disqualification of Congress MP Rashid Masood.

Going by its strength in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly — 224, as compared to 25 of the Congress — the Samajwadi Party could have won both. Party sources said the dominant view, including that of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, was that it should contest both.

But Mulayam Singh Yadav allowed the Congress to field Pramod Tiwari, a nine-time MLA, who filed his nomination papers today.

Tiwari, who became an MLA for the first time from Rampur Khas in Pratapgarh district in 1980 and won nine terms in a row, shares good personal relations with Mulayam. A minister from 1984 to 1989 in the Congress government in Uttar Pradesh, he has been looking to move to national politics for some time now.

For the other seat, Samajwadi candidate Kanaklata Singh, daughter of Mohan Singh, has already filed her nomination.

SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said: “The party wants to pay respect to the departed leader by getting his daughter elected to the Rajya Sabha.” But he would not say why the Samajwadis conceded one seat to the Congress.

If their papers are found in order, Tiwari and Singh are expected to be elected unopposed since there are no other candidates. Today was the last date for filing nominations.