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Before Rajya Sabha polls, 8 SP MLAs skip meeting called by Akhilesh Yadav

Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) leader Pallavi Patel was also absent at the meeting, but she had a separate meeting with Yadav and assured her support to the SP candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections, SP's national spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.
Last Updated 27 February 2024, 03:00 IST

Lucknow: As many as eight MLAs of the Samajwadi Party did not attend a meeting called by party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday, a day before the voting for the Rajya Sabha elections.

A senior SP leader requesting anonymity said that the party chief had called a meeting to brief the MLAs about the voting process of the Rajya Sabha elections. However, chief whip of the party in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Manoj Pandey and seven other MLAs -- Mukesh Verma, Maharaji Prajapati, Pooja Pal, Rakesh Pandey, Vinod Chaturvedi, Rakesh Pratap Singh and Abhay Singh did not attend the meeting.

Speaking to PTI, SP's national spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary admitted that eight MLAs did not attend the dinner and meeting called by party chief Akhilesh Yadav. However, he did not name the MLAs.

On a question whether Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) leader Pallavi Patel, who is an SP MLA, attended the meeting, Chaudhary said that though she was not in the meeting, she had a separate meeting with Yadav. She also assured her support to the SP candidates in the Rajya Sabha elections, Chaudhary said.

The SP's national spokesperson also said that the real stance of the MLAs who were absent from the meeting will be clear only on Tuesday during the voting for the Rajya Sabha elections.

He exuded confidence that all the three SP candidates will win the elections.

The stage is set for a high-pitched electoral battle in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha polls on Tuesday, with the BJP fielding eight candidates and the opposition Samajwadi Party three for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats.

The ruling BJP and the principal opposition SP have the numbers to send seven and three members, respectively to the Rajya Sabha, but with the BJP fielding Sanjay Seth as its eighth candidate, a keen contest is on the cards for one of the seats.

Seth, an industrialist and former SP leader, had joined the BJP in 2019.

The BJP and the SP are the two largest parties in the 403-member state assembly with 252 and 108 MLAs, respectively. The Congress, an alliance partner of the SP, has two seats.

BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has 13 seats, NISHAD Party has six seats, RLD has nine, SBSP six, Jansatta Dal Loktantrik two and the BSP has one seat. Four seats are currently vacant.

The seven other candidates fielded by the BJP are former Union minister RPN Singh, former MP Chaudhary Tejveer Singh, general secretary of the party's Uttar Pradesh unit Amarpal Maurya, former state minister Sangeeta Balwant, party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi, former MLA Sadhna Singh and former Agra mayor Naveen Jain.

The Samajwadi Party has fielded actor-MP Jaya Bachchan, retired IAS officer Alok Ranjan and Dalit leader Ramji Lal Suman.

To get elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, a candidate needs 37 first preference votes, an official said.

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(Published 27 February 2024, 03:00 IST)

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