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Polling For 13 Legislative Council Seats Begins In UP

Voting for the 13 seats of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council began here on Friday. There are fourteen candidates for 13 seats. The voting was preceded by hectic lobbying till late Thursday with both the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress spreading out a lavish dinner for its legislators.

The ruling SP has named Balram Yadav, Jagjivan Prasad, Kamlesh Pathak, Bukkal Nawab, Yashwant Singh, Ram Sunder Das Nishad, Ranvijay Singh and Shatrudra Prakash as its candidates. The BSP has fielded Atar Singh Rao, Suresh Kashyap and Dinesh Chandra for the polls and the Congress has named Deepak Singh. BJP candidates include Bhupendra Singh and Daya Shanker Singh.

SP needs votes of 232 MLA's to sail through its eight candidates but there are reports of a bunch of them having decided to cross-vote. Jittery about such a prospect, the party hosted a dinner for MLA's late on Thursday and even SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has been actively involved in “management”. The BSP has fielded three candidates and has 80 legislators. It needs seven extra votes.

The BJP with its 41 legislators, can get only one of its candidates through but by fielding an extra candidate it hopes to win over the Apna Dal, NCP and an independent MLA other than getting some votes from “other side of the fence”. Congress hopes to get through its sole candidate. It has 29 legislators in the House.

The Rashtriya Lok Dal has decided that four of its eight MLA's will vote for the Congress while the remaining would vote for SP candidates. There is however anxiety in most parties as seven legislators did not turn up at the dinner thrown by the SP leadership, three at Congress's. At least seven BSP legislators have been found to be “suspect” by its party high command. BJP too is finding it tough to find extra votes.

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