Uttar Pradesh: Fear Of Cross-Voting Looms Large In Vidhan Parishad Elections

Uttar Pradesh: Fear Of Cross-Voting Looms Large In Vidhan Parishad Elections

Speculations abound that disgruntled SP members may further bolster BJP's electoral prospects, potentially catalysing more defections from the opposition ranks.

BISWAJEET BANERJEEUpdated: Thursday, February 29, 2024, 08:26 PM IST
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In the wake of the recent strategic manoeuvres witnessed during the February 27 Rajya Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, wherein the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) secured unexpected support from seven Samajwadi Party lawmakers, along with one abstention, apprehensions over cross-voting have escalated as the March 21 Vidhan Parishad elections draw near.

With the looming specter of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for April-May 2024, the forthcoming political battleground of the Vidhan Parishad elections is poised to become a litmus test for opposition unity in the state.

Of particular concern is the absence of a mandatory 'show' of votes by members of the legislative assembly in the Vidhan Parishad polls, providing a potential opening for cross-voting, a tactic openly acknowledged by politicians from both the BJP and SP camps.

Speculations abound that disgruntled SP members may further bolster BJP's electoral prospects, potentially catalysing more defections from the opposition ranks.

The current arithmetic in the 403-member UP assembly, with three lawmakers incarcerated and unable to cast their votes, translates to an effective voting strength of 396, necessitating approximately 29 first preference votes per candidate for victory.

Of the 13 members of the Legislative Council whose terms conclude in May, the BJP currently holds a majority. Bolstered by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) bloc, which enjoys the backing of independent MLAs and rebel SP lawmakers, the effective voting strength is poised to surge to 296.

However, challenges persist within the INDIA bloc, with some members facing legal entanglements and the looming threat of defections.

Undeterred by these challenges, the BJP exudes confidence following its recent successes and remains poised to secure additional support from within the opposition ranks, signaling its intent to contest the elections vigorously.

Meanwhile, the opposition bloc, spearheaded by the Samajwadi Party and Congress, grapples with internal discord and numerical inferiority, possessing only 101 effective votes at its disposal. This stark numerical disadvantage significantly bolsters the BJP's prospects of clinching a majority in the Vidhan Parishad.

As the filing of nominations kicks off on March 4 and polling day looms on March 21, the political landscape of Uttar Pradesh braces for further intrigue and manoeuvring.

With the final political showdown before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on the horizon, the outcome of the Vidhan Parishad polls is poised to shape the state's political trajectory in profound ways, echoing far beyond its borders.

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