BJP mulls panchayat polls plan, names for 12 UP Legislative Council seats

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday discussed names for the upcoming Legislative Council (MLC) polls and the strategy for the panchayat elections likely to be held in March or April in Uttar Pradesh.

The discussion took place in the presence of chief minister Yogi Adityanath at the party’s state unit office in Lucknow on Monday evening.

“It was decided that the party would prepare the roadmap for the panchayat polls between January 7 and 17 when all top leaders would visit different places across the state. Through these visits, the BJP leadership would galvanise the cadres for the rural polls,” a party leader said.

At the nearly two-hour meeting, senior party leaders, including the chief minister as well as party’s national general secretary and office in-charge Arun Singh, authorised the party’s state chief Swatantra Dev to send a panel of names for clearance to the BJP’s central leadership.

“Wait and watch. Soon everything will be before you,” said a senior BJP leader privy to the meeting when asked if the candidate list would also have some surprises.

Apart from CM Yogi Adityanath, deputy chief ministers Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, UP BJP in-charge Radha Mohan Singh, general secretary (organisation) Sunil Bansal, agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi, minister of state Neelima Katiyar and UP BJP vice-president Kanta Kardam were present at the meeting.

The six-year tenure of 12 members of the legislative council would end on January 30. They include six MLCs of the Samajwadi Party and three each of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Since its impressive victory in the 2017 UP assembly polls, the BJP is now in a position to send maximum MLCs to the upper house of the state legislature. It is comfortably placed to send at least nine candidates to the legislative council where, as of now, the opposition Samajwadi Party has a majority with 55 members. The BJP is a distant second with 25 members followed by the Bahujan Samaj Party (8) and the Congress (2).

The number of MLCs a party can get elected to the legislative council is dependent on the number of members it has in the state assembly. The BJP has 305 members in the UP assembly, the SP 48 and the BSP 16.

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