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BJP’s Rajya Sabha 11: How the BJP’s move in Uttar Pradesh sent a panic wave in opposition

Arti Ghargi

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Uttar Pradesh

With total 312 MLAs, BJP can easily send eight candidates to Rajya Sabha from the state of Uttar Pradesh. However, BJP will still have 28 votes left.

 

In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party stormed to power winning 282 seats. However, the party still lacked the numbers in Rajya Sabha. However, BJP’s win in the consequent assembly elections has given them a chance to increase their numbers in the Upper House of the parliament as well.

Recently, the party announced its list of candidates for Rajya Sabha polls. Total 58 seats from 16 states and a by-election for 1 seat from Kerala will be held on March 23, 2018. However, the most number of seats (10) being vacated are from Uttar Pradesh.

While for Congress, SP and BSP the Rajya Sabha elections are crucial to maintaining their presence in the Upper House; BJP has hit a masterstroke by fielding one more candidate leaving the opposition startled.

Uttar Pradesh Assembly numbers:

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections conducted in 2017 were swept by the saffron party. Going beyond the magic figure, the BJP won total 312 seats in the 403 seat assembly. The SP emerged second winning 47 seats, while BSP had to be satisfied with only 19 seats. Congress couldn’t even reach the two-digit number and won only seven seats. While Rashtriya Lok Dal won only one seat, independent candidates grabbed three seats.

Rajya Sabha seat calculation:

Uttar Pradesh, being the biggest and most populous state in the country has 31 seat representation in Rajya Sabha. For a candidate to win, 37 preferential votes from the MLAs are needed. This year, the term of as much as 10 members is coming to an end. The retiring members include Naresh Agarwal who recently dumped SP and joined BJP, Munquad Ali, Jaya Bachchan, BJP’s Vinay Katiyar, Kiranmay Nanda, Alok Tiwari, Pramod Tiwari, Darshan Singh Yadav and Munvvar Saleem Choudhury.

BJP has currently fielded 11 candidates including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while SP has fielded Jaya Bachchan and BSP has fielded Bhimrao Ambedkar. With one independent candidate filing nominations for Rajya Sabha polls, the total number of candidates in the fray has gone up to 14.

Current Equation:

Here it is important to understand the number game. With total 312 MLAs, BJP can easily send eight candidates to Rajya Sabha. However, BJP will still have 28 votes left. With 46 votes remaining after the exit of Nitin Agarwal, SP can elect one candidate to Rajyasabha. It will have nine more votes remaining. BSP, on the other hand, still needs to gather support. The pre-poll alliance between the arch-rivals BSP and SP for Rajya Sabha election stemmed from this need. Congress has already declared its support to BSP’s candidate.

With SP’s nine, Congress’ seven and 19 votes from the own party MLAs, the BSP is able to achieve 35 votes, still two votes less than the required. For this, BSP may turn to small parties like RLD and independents.

However, with BJP fielding three more candidates, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party are clearly baffled. BJP is also pinning hopes on Naresh Agarwal to bring the votes of more 10-15 MLAs. This would clearly reduce both BSP and SP’s chances of winning.

Here’s the list of BJP’s 11 candidates:

Rajya Sabha

Image Source: Twitter BJP

 

Uttar Pradesh

Image Source: Twitter

The last day for filing of nominations was Monday. March 15 is the last date for withdrawal of candidature.

Politics

Mehbooba government was the worst ever: BJP leader

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Former Jammu and Kashmir minister and senior BJP leader Choudhary Lal Singh today said the previous Mehbooba Mufti government was the “worst ever” dispensation in the state and more damage would have been caused had his party not pulled out of it.

He said the “unilateral ceasefire” announced in view of the holy month of Ramzan was the “biggest mistake” as it had allowed terrorists to regroup and had dented the morale of security forces.

It’s not good to impose governor’s rule in a democratic set up. But when the situation is deteriorating by the day, it’s the only option left. This (PDP-BJP) government was the worst the state has ever seen, Singh told reporters.

Hailing BJP president Amit Shah for taking the right albeit late decision, he said, The people were saved from the opportunistic rulers who were working on communal lines.”

He accused Mehbooba Mufti of being “pro-separatist” and said she started her political career by shedding tears, a reference to her visits to meet families of slain soldiers.

They (PDP leaders) are their (separatist) sponges. Her life started with their support, he alleged.

I am senior to her in politics and I can say with authority that she will never become chief minister again,” he said.

Singh said Mehbooba Mufti ruined everything because of her inefficiency and had hurt the “soul of her father Mufti Sayeed”.

I met her to demand a CBI probe into the Kathua incident, but she declined it in a bid to malign the people of Jammu, he alleged.

Singh had started a campaign across the Jammu region, demanding a CBI probe into the Kathua rape-and-murder case after he was made to resign as forest minister along with industries minister Chander Prakash Ganga in April for participating in a rally in support of the eight men arrested in the case.

He said he would meet Governor N N Vohra shortly to reiterate his demand for a CBI probe into the January incident that had triggered a massive wave of outrage across the country

On the BJP pulling out of the coalition government, he said it was right as the “anti-people PDP was trying to divide society on religious lines”.

They had already thrown the Valley into the fire and had now set their eyes on Jammu, but the Dogras did not allow it to happen, he said.

Had the PDP-BJP government continued in the state, it would have caused more damage, Singh added.

However, he said PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was a visionary and a seasoned politician.

Defending the PDP-BJP combine, Singh said, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed stitched the alliance keeping in mind the mandate given by the people to the two parties. But Mehbooba proved incompetent and failed to do justice to the different regions.

“We are children of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. But his party played wrong politics (after his demise). It was time to wipe away the tears of people, but the PDP ruined it. The brotherhood and communal harmony which we are proud of is under threat,” he alleged.

He trashed Mehbooba Mufti’s statement that she had handled the Kathua case appropriately, saying the incident was a glaring example of the mistakes under her rule.

“If terrorism recorded a growth it was because of the soft approach she adopted,” Singh alleged.

The BJP leader said the situation would not have turned worse had there been an efficient opposition in the state.

“The government made mistakes because of the weak opposition, whose leaders were busy only on Twitter, he said.

Singh also said the suspension of anti-terror operations during Ramzan was the biggest mistake “as it allowed the terrorists to regroup and dented the morale of security forces”.

They took a stand on the ceasefire and talked to the Centre, which unwillingly accepted it in view of the holy month of Ramzan. The chief minister’s stand was a big mistake. Not only Jammu bore the brunt of it, militancy got strengthened and spread to every nook and corner of the valley.

On Mehbooba Mufti’s remark that a muscular policy was not the answer to the Kashmir problem, he said, “Muscle power is not meant for common people but for those who are anti-national, chant pro-Pakistan slogans and use guns and grenades to kill innocent persons.”

Singh claimed the Mehbooba Mufti government broke all records of discrimination against the Jammu region.

He said the situation in the state had started returning to normal just two days after the governor’ rule was imposed in the state.

“The stone-pelters were their (PDP’s) workers and supporters and that is why the cases against them were withdrawn, he alleged.

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Soz’s claims on Kashmir ‘cheap gimmick’ to sell book: Congress

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The Congress today dismissed the claims of party leader and former union minister Saifuddin Soz on the choice of Kashmiris as stray remarks and “cheap gimmick” to sell his forthcoming book and said the party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit will take appropriate action.

In his book, Soz has said that “independence” is the first choice of Kashmiris as he supported former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s assessment in this regard.

“Musharraf had explained that if Kashmiris were given a chance to exercise their free will, they would prefer to be independent. In fact, this assessment of Musharraf seems to be correct even today,” he has written in the book.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala rejected Soz’s contention and said that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will continue to be so and that is an incontrovertible and unquestionable truth.

“Congress party and every rightful citizen of India reject such content as a gimmick to sell a book that is yet to come into the market. There is incontrovertible unquestionable truth and that is J&K was an integral part of India, is an integral part of India, and will always remain an integral part of India,” he told reporters.

The Congress leader said that many people will make many statements “either to sell book or to gain cheap publicity through friends of the media”.

He also said the statement made by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad that civilians should not be killed while carrying out operations against militants in Jammu and Kashmir, was in support of the common people of the state and should not be viewed as something which is “anti-national”.

Asked about what action the Congress would initiate against Soz, Surjewala said, “Pradesh Congress Committee of J&K will take an appropriate action and decide on the issue”.

He cited statements of former finance minister Yashwant Sinha made in Srinagar and by BJP veteran L K Advani on Mohammed Ali Jinnah to hit out at the BJP.

“We have also seen in the past how BJP’s the then deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh made a public statement saying that they would have perhaps told security forces to not take action if BJP-PDP government knew that Burhan Wani, dreaded terrorist, was inside,” he said.

Surjewala also took a dig at Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, saying while the prime minister invited the ISI which is responsible for terrorist attacks to investigate the Pathankot air base attack by terrorists, the BJP chief expressed confidence in the ISI.

The Congress leader cited the remark made by former chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in the presence of Modi, during his swearing-in thanking separatists and Pakistan and not the security forces and election commission, for formation of the government in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We also saw as to how PDP-BJP government made Asifa Andrabi – the poster girl for Beti Bacho Beti Padhao’ in J&K – while she also went to Pakistan and addressed public rallies with terrorists,” Surjewala said.

“So let us not try to divert agenda based on a stray statement made by some individual which we reject in toto,” the Congress leader said.

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Yashwant Sinha calls on Omar Abdullah, discusses prevailing situation in J&K

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yashwant sinha

Srinagar: Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha today called on National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah and discussed the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The state was placed under Governor’s rule on Wednesday, a day after the BJP withdrew support to its alliance partner PDP, prompting Mehbooba Mufti to resign as chief minister.

Sinha called on Abdullah at the former chief minister’s residence here, a National Conference spokesperson said.

He said Sinha discussed the prevailing situation in the state as well as recent political developments with Abdullah.

According to the spokesperson, Sinha said the restoration of peace and a democratic and representative system of governance in the state was of utmost importance.

Abdullah told Sinha that restoration of normalcy in the state remained his party’s foremost concern and that relief is provided to the people, the spokesperson said.

Announcing withdrawal of support to the coalition on Tuesday, the BJP said it had become “untenable” for the party to continue in the alliance government in Jammu and Kashmir.

Both Congress and National Conference said they will not join hands with any party to form the government in the state.

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