Mayawati has asked Akhilesh Yadav to allot 10 “dedicated” SP MLAs to vote for BSP candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar in the Rajya Sabha elections, slated for March 23. Maya’s demand could create trouble for SP candidate Jaya Bachchan in case of cross-voting by some of the remaining 37 SP MLAs, including SP turncoat Naresh Agarwal’s son Nitin, in favour of BJP.
Sources close to Mayawati said on Wednesday that the BSP chief asked Akhilesh Yadav to allot only ‘khaanti’ (dedicated) Samajwadi Party legislators who wouldn’t cross-vote in favour of BJP. Mayawati’s demand comes after SP’s impressive win in Gorakhpur and Phulpur bye-elections with BSP support. BJP has forced a contest for the RS berths by fielding an extra candidate.
As a rule, all political parties will be required to allot MLAs for their respective candidates. Given the number of vacancies, each candidate will have to get at least 37 votes. With a strength of 47 MLAs, SP can part with 10 MLA votes for BSP only when its own candidate Jaya Bachchan is safely placed after getting the mandatory 37 first preferential votes.
With chances of Nitin voting in favour of BJP, Akhilesh will have to choose between Jaya and Ambedkar. With 19 MLAs, Mayawati will be relying on the support of SP’s 10 and Congress’s seven MLAs, besides one from RLD. The three parties have already submitted in the Vidhan Sabha their support to the BSP nominee. “The RS elections could be a test for a prospective SP-BSP alliance. If SP falters in giving its support to ensure a win for the BSP nominee, it would only embarrass Mayawati and put the prospective SP-BSP alliance on the edge,” said political expert JP Shukla.