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Despite BJP’s strategy, Sibal wins RS seat from U.P.

Congress candidate Kapil Sibal celebrates after winning the Rajya Sabha election at Uttar Pradesh Assembly in Lucknow on Saturday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

The BJP’s strategy of supporting an independent candidate considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and thwart Congress candidate Kapil Sibal’s chances in the Rajya Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, failed to pay dividend as the former union minister secured a place to the Upper House on Saturday despite heavy cross-voting across parties.

The BJP’s official candidate Shiv Pratap Shukla, a former State minister, however, won with 36 votes.

All seven of the candidates fielded by the ruling Samajwadi Party — Amar Singh, Beni Prasad Verma, Kuwar Reoti Raman Singh, Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, Sukhram Singh Yadav, Surendra Nagar and controversial builder Sanjay Seth-also made it through.

The Bahujan Samaj Party’s two candidates, Mayawati-aide and Brahmin face of the party Satish Chandra Mishra and young zonal coordinator Ashok Siddharth also won.

However, all eyes were on the contest between Mr. Sibal and Preeti Mahapatra, an independent whose entry into the fray on the last day of filing nominations had turned the straight-forward election into a contest with voting, opening doors for horse-trading and cross voting.

With just 29 MLAs, the Congress needed another five votes to secure Mr. Sibal’s chances on the basis of firs-preference votes. A Gujarat-origin entrepreneur-cum-social worker considered close to Mr. Modi, Ms. Mahapatra’s entry as the 12th candidate necessitated voting instead of unopposed election to the 11 seats. In her nomination, she had received the support of MLAs across party lines, led by the BJP, leading the Congress to accuse the BJP of turning the elections into a “bazaar” with “open sale and purchase” of leaders.

In the end, with 25 votes, Mr. Sibal made it through as Ms. Mahapatra bowed out with 18 votes.

However, amid heavy cross voting, the Congress, which was banking on additional votes from the BSP, would also have to introspect that it received only 25 first preference votes in spite of the RLD, which did not field a candidate but committed four votes each to it and the SP. A number of Congress candidates voted for Ms. Mahapatra while some gave their first preference votes to the BSP.

Ms. Mayawati’s party, which propelled the victory of the Congress in MP and Uttarakhand, however, did not transfer its surplus votes. It two candidates, Mr. Mishra and Mr. Siddharth, received 39 and 42 votes. The BSP has 80 MLAs.

Cross voting also made it tough for the SP, which found its seventh candidate fall short of a few first-preference votes in spite of the party having sufficient numbers in the House. Only three of the SP’s candidates were through in the first round of counting, PTI reported.

The BJP had used a similar ploy in State Legislative Council but even there it suffered a setback as its second candidate lost on Friday. All eight of the SP’s candidates won, while the BSP also managed to send all three candidates to the State Legislative Council. The BJP and the Congress won one each. By launching a second candidate, Dayashankar Singh, even as it fell short of numbers, the BJP pushed the number of candidates for the 13 seats to 14. “BJP resorted to the dirty tactics of cross-voting and the newly elected BJP State president even boasted of being in touch with 100 MLAs. It is clear the party’s lies and arrogance have taken it down,” SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 8:50:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Despite-BJP%E2%80%99s-strategy-Sibal-wins-RS-seat-from-U.P./article14418454.ece

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