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400 MLAs vote in UP RS polls; neck-to-neck contest for tenth seat


Lucknow, With reports of just two cross voting, the polling for the crucial Rajya Sabha elections for 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh ended one hour before the schedule as all eligible 400 MLAs cast their votes on Friday. The fate of Union Finance Minister Arun Jatiely, Kanta Kardam, Ashok Bajpai, Vijay Pal Tomar, Sakaldeep Rajbhar, Harnath Singh Yadav, GLV Narsimha Rao, Anil Jain and Anil Agarwal (all from BJP), Jaya Bachchan from SP and B R Ambedkar of BSP will be decided in the elections where one candidate would face defeat. Returning Officer Poonam Saxena said polling was peaceful and a total of 400 MLAs used their franchise. She said counting will start at 1700 hrs. Ajay Naik from Bihar was the special observer for the elections while Additional CEO UP Govind Raju N S was the observer for this elections. Though the ruling BJP and Opposition were tight lipped over the numbers of votes cast in the favour of the candidates, but reports said the opposition was happy after Independent Raja Bhaiyya and another Saroj are said to have voted in their favour. After the polling, Raja Bhaiyya met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, which has raised eye brows on the MLA. However, BJP gained two votes -- Anil Singh from BSP and Nitin Agarwal of the SP -- when they openly cast their votes in favour of the BJP candidates. But it seemed that the contest would be a close neck-to-neck between the ninth BJP and the BSP candidate in fray and the counting process could go up the several round of preference votes. Reports said that BJP has given votes of 37 each to Arun Jatiely, Anil Jain and GLV Narsimha Rao so that they can win in the first round of counting while similar has been planned for SP candidate Jaya Bachchan. BJP along with its allies got 324 votes plus they also roped in Indpendent Amanmani Tripathi and NISHAD party member Vijay Mishra on their side along with the two defectors. The BSP candidate is expected to get 34 votes, which includes nine of SP, 7 of Congress, 17 of BSP and one of RLD. The BSP had made senior party leader Satish Chandra Misra as his poll agent while Shailendra Yadav of the SP is the polling agent, state parliamentary affairs minister Suresh Kumar Khanna is the polling agent of the ruling BJP. SP's Shivpal Singh Yadav was the first among the opposition members to cast vote in the RS polls early in the morning at 0900 hrs when the polling commenced. Health Minister Sidharthnath Singh voted first from the BJP side. Mr. Adityanath, who is not eligible to vote as he is the member of the legislative council, reached the assembly to monitor the voting at 0930 hrs while most of the eight candidates of the BJP were stationed at the BJP headquarters just opposite the assembly. BJP had rushed Railway Minister Piyush Goel to Lucknow and he was the main strategist for the party in this elections. The total 403 eligible voters in the RS polls, one seat is vacant due to the death of a BJP member while two MLAs, Mukhtar Ansari of the BSP and Hariom of SP were not allowed to vote as they are in jail. BJP has 324 members, including its alliance partners in the assembly and can easily win 8 seats. Opposition are supporting the BSP candidates but it lacks in the number along with the ninth BJP candidate.

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