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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 April 2024

Voting concludes for Rajya Sabha polls in UP as SP fears cross-voting, party's chief whip quits

Those who don't have the courage to fight will go. Some might have been afraid for their security, some might have been threatened or promised something, says Akhilesh Yadav

PTI Lucknow Published 27.02.24, 05:41 PM
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav.

Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav. File picture.

Voting for 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh ended Tuesday evening, amid concerns in the Samajwadi Party over cross-voting and the party chief whip quitting while polling was underway.

At present there are 399 members in the 403-member Assembly with four vacancies. Out of the 399 MLAs, 395 exercised their voting rights on Tuesday: three of them could not vote as they are in jail, while officials could not confirm the other MLA who did not cast the ballot.

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Voting began at 9 am and ended at 4 pm. "The counting of votes will start at 5 pm and the results are likely to be declared tonight," Returning Officer Brijbhushan Dubey said.

Many senior leaders including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav cast their votes.

Amid concerns over cross-voting and SP chief whip Manoj Pandey quitting while polling was underway, Yadav warned action will be taken against such MLAs. "Those who wanted to profit from the situation will go. Those who were given assurances (by the BJP) will go," Yadav told reporters at the assembly before casting his vote.

"The BJP can adopt all tricks to win elections. It must have given assurance (to some MLAs) of some profit... BJP will do anything to win," he added. "Those who don't have the courage to fight will go. Some might have been afraid for their security, some might have been threatened or promised something." The ruling BJP and the principal opposition SP have the numbers in the Assembly to send seven and three members respectively unopposed to the Rajya Sabha, but the BJP fielded an eighth candidate, making the contest interesting.

Talking to reporters, BJP leader Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya claimed that Yadav made a mistake by fielding his third candidate and he does not the numbers.

"The SP has become 'Samaptwadi Party' and all the eight candidates of the BJP will win," he added.

Pathak too asserted that all BJP candidates were going to win.

SP MLAs Rakesh Pratap Singh, Abhay Singh and Rakesh Pandey, who were among eight party MLAs to have skipped Yadav's Monday night meeting, arrived in the same vehicle. "We will cast our votes as per our inner voices," Rakesh Pratap Singh said. The BJP and the SP are the two largest parties in the 403-member House with 252 MLAs and 108 MLAs respectively. The Congress, an alliance partner of the SP, has two seats.

BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has 13 seats, the Nishad Party has six seats, the RLD has nine seats, SBSP six, Jansatta Dal Loktantrik two and the BSP has one seat. Four seats are currently vacant.

The candidates fielded by the BJP are: Former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, general secretary of the party's Uttar Pradesh unit Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant (Bind), party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, former MLA Sadhna Singh, former Agra mayor Naveen Jain and industrialist Sanjay Seth.

The Samajwadi Party has fielded actor-MP Jaya Bachchan, retired IAS officer Alok Ranjan and Dalit leader Ramji Lal Suman.

Seth, a former SP leader, joined the BJP in 2019. Any cross-voting by SP legislators could get Seth elected.

To get elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, a candidate needs nearly 37 first-preference votes.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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