Lucknow: In an interesting move to checkmate political equations in the upcoming polls to 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has fielded three additional candidates triggering a direct contest with the lone BSP who is hoping to sail through with the support of Samajwadi Party and Congress.
The ruling party initially announced the names of its eight candidates, including finance minister Arun Jaitley, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, Kanta Kardam, Dr Anil Jain, GVL Narasimha Rao and Harnath Singh Yadav.
The SP nominated Jaya Bachchan as its only candidate and decided to extendd the remaining votes to BSP candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Even Congress party also announced the support of its seven MLAs to the BSP nominee.
However, with a total strength of 324 legislators in 403-member UP assembly, the saffron party and its allies will still have 28 spare votes. Taking a chance, the BJP sprang a surprise and tend to demolish the joint opposition by fielding three more candidates thus taking their tally of RS aspirants to 11.
However, the prospects of withdrawal of names are open till March 14.
The BJP asked its two party leaders, Vidya Sagar Sonkar and Salil Vishnoi, along with a Ghaziabad-based businessman Anil Agarwal to file papers on Monday. Sonkar happens to be a former BJP MP, while Vishnoi is a three-time BJP MLA from Arya Nagar constituency in Kanpur. Agarwal, too, has been closely associated with the BJP.
The announcement of three additional candidates by the saffron party came in a dramatic way. After a series of nominations papers wer filed by eight party candidates led by Union Finance
Minister Arun Jaitley, Anil Agarwal,flanked by Gonda MLAs Shailesh Singh reached the Assembly central hall to file his nomination. Agarwal runs an engineering college in Ghaziabad and a school in Meerut. He hoped to get support of other party legislators.
Following the suit, Salil Vishnoi and Vidya Sagar Sonkar arrived to file their papers as BJP candidates. Both Vishnoi and Sonkar said that they were asked by party leadership to contest. Thus necessitating an election.
Meanwhile, opposition including SP, Congress and RLD, too sensed the BJP move and submitted a letter of support to the BSP nominee Ambedkar. Had the BJP fielded only eight candidates, there would have
been no election for 10th seat and the BSP candidate would have easily sailed through.
However, in the given situation, BJP would essentially rely on the independent candidates while hoping for a defection in BSP, SP and Congress camps. This could dent the prospects of the joint opposition candidate.