400 UP legislators vote in RS polls, counting yet to start

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Lucknow, March 23 (IANS) Counting of votes for the 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh is yet to start as the Election Commission (EC) has not yet given the go-ahead for the process, an official said on Friday evening.

“The counting process has been held up after some complaints were raised on balloting,” he added.

The counting was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m, an hour after the voting process was completed.

In all, 400 legislators cast their votes in the crucial elections in which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded nine candidates, and the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) one each. The Uttar Pradesh Assembly has 403 members.

Two of the three legislators who could not cast their votes — Mukhtar Ansari of the BSP and SP legislator Hari Om Yadav — are in jail, while the Noorpur seat in Bijnore fell vacant following the death of BJP MLA Lokendra Pratap Singh.

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The Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) have extended their support to BSP candidate Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Nishad Party legislator Vijay Mishra, BSP’s Anil Singh and and SP’s Nitin Agarwal have openly broken ranks with their parties and voted for the BJP.

Raghuraj Pratap Singh aka ‘Raja Bhaiyya’, an Independent MLA from Kunda in Pratapgarh, however, did not reveal his cards, but said before voting that he was with the SP, irrespective of its new-found alliance with Mayawati’s BSP.

During her tenure as Chief Minister, Mayawati had jailed the Kunda legislator and his father. Since then the two have never seen eye to eye.

He was present at the dinner hosted by SP president Akhilesh Yadav two days back and was widely believed to have thrown in his lot with the opposition camp. Akhilesh Yadav also tweeted his thanks to Raja Bhaiyya for his vote in favour of the SP candidate.

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But, his meeting with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath soon after casting his vote has got the rumour mills working overtime on the possibility of his switching sides.

Both sides are, however, maintaining that their candidates will win and have trashed reports of cross-voting against party lines.

–IANS

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