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Rajya Sabha elections: Samajwadi Party backs independent candidate to heat up race | Lucknow News – Times of India

LUCKNOW: The Rajya Sabha elections took an interesting turn on Tuesday when the Samajwadi Party (SP) extended support to an independent candidate, Prakash Bajaj, who filed his nomination just before the deadline. Now, there are 11 candidates in the fray for 10 vacant seats, necessitating the polling for the last seat which was being eyed by Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) despite not having adequate numbers. Voting will take place on October 9.
The nomination papers of Bajaj – a Varanasi-based lawyer – were filed with the support of 10 SP legislators. SP took a last-minute decision after securing a seat for senior party leader and national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, who is the party’s official candidate. While Prakash Bajaj is a corporate lawyer, his father Pradeep Bajaj was associated with the Janata Party.
For getting elected, every candidate will have to get at least 37 votes. This way, the SP, which has a strength of 48 MLAs in the UP assembly, had 11 additional votes to spare. One of its MLAs, Nitin Agarwal, though has been in support of the BJP after his father Naresh Agarwal joined the saffron brigade in 2018, after being denied a RS ticket.
The BJP, on the other hand did not field an additional candidate despite having eight votes to spare – with a strength of 304 MLA in the UP assembly, the BJP would have required the support of 296 candidates to get its eight candidates sail through. With nine MLAs of its ally Apna Dal (Sone Lal), the BJP would have mustered 17 additional votes. Besides this, the MLAs like Rakesh Singh and Aditi Singh of Congress, Anil Singh and Ram Veer Upadhayay of BSP have been hobnobbing with the BJP for quite some time. In fact, Upadhyay’s son Chirag Upadhyay joined BJP earlier this month only.
BJP sources said that fielding or supporting an 11th candidate was not in its plan. “We had sufficient numbers for eight candidates only,” said a senior BJP leader associated with the party election team. He categorically set aside rumours of fielding a family member of former union minister and Congressman, late Akhilesh Das. Even though speculation of Das’s wife Alka purchasing papers to file her nomination started swirling.
Political analysts said that after BJP decided not to field an additional candidate, it became clear that there would be no polling and all 10 candidates including Ramji Gautam of BSP would have sailed through with only 18 MLAs. However, that would have allowed the BJP and BSP to come closer, analysts said.
Now, with SP blocking BSP candidate’s smooth sail, the chasm between the two arch-rivals, which came closer in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, seems to be getting wider in the run-up to the next big fight in 2022.

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