UP: Five BSP MLAs Withdraw Support for Party's Rajya Sabha Nominee

The move has ignited speculation that the MLAs could switch sides.

Lucknow In an apparent U-turn, five of the ten Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs who had proposed Ramji Gautam as the party candidate for the Rajya Sabha withdrew their support on Wednesday, claiming that their signatures were forged.

The five BSP MLAs have given in writing that their signatures on the senior leader’s nomination papers were forged, Vidhan Sabha secretariat’s sources said. The five MLAs are Aslam Raini, Aslam Chaudhary, Mujtaba Siddiqui, Hakim Lal Bind and Hargovind Bhargava.

The dramatic development came a day after Gautam had filed his nomination papers for next month’s Rajya Sabha elections. This has triggered speculation that the five Uttar Pradesh MLAs are planning to switch sides.

The scrutiny of nominations is underway on Wednesday, while the election will be held on November 9. The returning officer will look into the complaint about the forged signatures and take a decision, sources said.

On Monday, Mayawati’s party had fielded its national coordinator and Bihar in-charge, Ramji Gautam, for the Rajya Sabha elections even though it did not have the number to ensure his victory. BSP leaders had indicated that they expected the other non-BJP parties to support his candidature.

Altogether there are 11 candidates, including eight from the BJP, who have filed their papers for the ten Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh which go to the polls in the biennial elections. Given the overwhelming strength of the BJP in the UP assembly, all eight candidates fielded by the ruling party, including Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, are expected to be elected.

Of the ten Rajya Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh that are falling vacant; three were previously held by the BJP, four by the Samajwadi Party, two by the BSP and one by the Congress.