Smooth sailing likely for all 13 candidates
Lucknow: All 13 candidates, including two ministers, who have filed their nominations for the vacant Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council seats are set to get elected unopposed as no extra candidate entered the fray at the end of filing of nominations today, an official said.
Unlike the recent Rajya Sabha elections in the state, which saw cross-voting, the UP Council polls will not witness a similar scenario as there was virtually no possibility of polling scheduled for April 26.
"As many as 13 candidates have filed their nomination papers for 13 seats," returning officer Ashok Kumar Chaubey said.
Scrutiny of nomination papers will be taken up tomorrow, and if all the documents are found valid, all the 13 candidates are likely to be declared elected unopposed. However, an official declaration might not be made till the last date of withdrawal, which is April 19, officials said.
While the SP and the BSP have fielded one candidate each, the BJP has put up 10 candidates, including two UP government ministers Mahendra Singh and Mohsin Raza. BJP ally Apna Dal (S) is contesting one seat. The SP has fielded its state unit president Naresh Uttam, while the BSP has nominated BR Ambedkar, who lost in the Rajya Sabha polls.
The saffron party has rewarded some turncoats, who had resigned from the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council last year to facilitate Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his two deputies and two other cabinet colleagues to get the membership of the Upper House of the state Legislature.
Apart from the two state ministers, the other BJP candidates are Sarojini Agarwal, Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant Singh, Jaiveer Singh, Vidhyasagar Sonkar, Vijay Bahadur Pathak, Ashok Kataria and Ashok Dhawan.
Kataria, Sonkar and Pathak are general secretaries of the state BJP unit, while Dhawan, a former MLC, hails from Varanasi.
Meanwhile, Apna Dal (Sonelal) spokesperson Arvind Sharma, in an official statement said the party president Ashish Singh Patel will be its candidate.
In September last year, Adityanath, his two deputies and two ministers were declared elected unopposed to the state Legislative Council.
The chief minister had filed his nomination for the seat vacated by then Samajwadi Party (SP) member Yashwant Singh, while Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya had filed his papers for the seat held by SP member Bukkal Nawab. Their term was to expire in July, 2022.
Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma had filed his nomination for the seat vacated by Ashok Bajpai and Swatantra Dev Singh for the seat vacated by then SP member Sarojni Agarwal. Their term was to expire in January, 2021.
Raza, the only Muslim minister in the Adityanath cabinet, had filed his nomination for the seat vacated by BSP member Thakur Jaiveer Singh. Bajpai was recently rewarded with a Rajya Sabha seat from UP.
The SP, headed by Akhilesh Yadav, had initially fielded two candidates, but withdrew one of them, paving the way for Mayawati's party to contest one seat for her support to the SP in the bypolls to the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats.
In the 100-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council, the BJP has only 13 representatives, the SP 61, the BSP nine, the Congress two, the RLD one and others 12. Two seats are vacant.
According to the Election Commission (EC), the tenure of 13 MLCs, including SP national president Akhilesh Yadav and two ministers in the Adityanath government -- Mahendra Kumar Singh and Mohsin Raza -- will end on May 5. Of the 13 seats falling vacant, seven were held by the SP, two each by the BJP and the BSP and one by the RLD. The 13th seat, which was held by former SP minister Ambika Chaudhary, fell vacant when he switched over to the BSP.