BJP working on strategy for UP council polls to accommodate 6 ministers

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Even before the Uttar Pradesh legislative council polls — through local bodies are over — the BJP strategists have begun working overtime on the upcoming 16 seats in the legislative council that are falling vacant in the next three months.

Three seats in the council will fall vacant on April 28, three on May 26 and 13 on July 6.

There are six BJP ministers who are not members of either House and need to become members of the legislative council in order to continue in their ministerial positions beyond six months.

They include cooperative minister J.P.S. Rathore, backward caste welfare minister Narendra Kashyap, horticulture minister Dinesh Pratap Singh, AYUSH minister Daya Shankar Mishra ‘Dayalu’, state minister Jaswant Saini and minority affairs minister Danish Azad.

Three nominated Samajwadi Party (SP) councillors — Balwant Singh Ramuwalia, Zahid Hasan Wasim and Madhukar Jaitely — will complete their term on April 28. A month later, three more SP members — Rajpal Kashyap, Arvind Kumar and Sanjay Lathar — will retire from the legislative council.

Since these seats are of the nomination category, the BJP will be able to easily place its candidates in the Upper House without any contest, while raising its tally in the council to 41.

All these retiring MLCs are from the Samajwadi Party, which will see its strength in the council getting reduced from the current 17 to 11 by end of May.

BJP sources said that the party may consider nominating some ministers to the council, while adjusting others in July, when 13 seats of Uttar Pradesh Assembly quota will fall vacant.

This will include seats vacated by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya and cabinet minister Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary.

Keshav Maurya, who lost from Sirathu and Bhupendra Chaudhary will have to seek another term in the council to continue as ministers.

In a House of 403, each of the 13 candidates has to garner support of at least 32 MLAs. Given its strength of 273 in the Assembly, the BJP-led NDA will be able to send eight candidates easily, while stoking a contest for the ninth one.

If the NDA succeeds in winning nine seats, its strength will rise to 50, which is half the total strength of the council. BJP allies — Apna Dal (S) and Nishad party — may also seek a seat to raise their presence in the council and strike a bargain with the BJP.

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