BJP suffers loss of face in UP Council polls

Lucknow (PTI): In a loss of face to BJP, its extra candidate in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council elections lost on Friday while ruling SP and opposition BSP won an additional seat each with support from Congress and other parties. Polling was held for 12 seats and SP won eight, BSP three and BJP one, Principal Secretary, Legislative Council, Pradeep Dubey said.

The elected SP candidates were Ahmad Hasan, Ramesh Yadav, Ramjatan Rajbhar, Sahab Singh Saini, Ashok Bajpai, Virendra Singh Gurjar, Sarojini Agarwal and Ashu Malik. Hasan is Health Minister and also Leader of the House in the Legislative Council.

BSP nominees who won are Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Dharmveer Ashok and Pradeep. The BJP candidate who could make it to the portals of the Upper House was Lakshman Acharya, while the second candidate Dayashankar Singh had to bite the dust. The state Assembly has 403 members and first preference votes of 31 MLAs were needed to ensure victory of one candidate for the Upper House. Among the 12 retiring members whose term will come to an end on January 30, seven are from BSP, three from SP and two from BJP.

SP with 230 MLAs won eights seats as its additional candidate emerged victorious with surplus votes of Congress and backing from some other parties and Independents. Congress did not field any candidate for the Legislative Council biennial elections in 12 seats as a quid pro quo for ruling Samajwadi Party, which had enabled two Congress candidates sail through in the Rajya Sabha elections. BSP with 80 MLAs won all the three seats it had contested with the support from RLD which has eight MLAs and some surplus votes from Congress.

BJP, which has 41 MLAs, could ensure victory of only one candidate as it failed to utilise its 10 surplus votes to make its additional candidate successful. Congress said its MLAs have voted to defeat communal forces. “Congress MLAs have used their votes judiciously in order to defeat the second candidate of BJP which has fielded an additional nominee,” party spokesperson and MLA Rita Bahuguna Joshi said after casting her vote.

To a specific question as to whether the additional Congress votes have been cast in favour of BSP, she said, “Our votes are for secular parties.” BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said the party had expected MLAs to vote as per their conscience and thus fielded an extra candidate. “In fact, we have got more than 41 votes, indicating that MLAs from other parties have supported us,” he said.