BJP candidates Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sumer Singh Solanki, and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh are all set to sail through to the three Rajya Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh even before elections are held today.
The Congress’ other nominee Phool Singh Baraiya, a Dalit leader, however, stands a very slim chance of making it to the upper house of Parliament in today’s election.
The BJP has enough MLAs to get elected its two candidates, whereas the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) has asked 54 of its 92 MLAs to cast their first preference vote for Digvijaya Singh. The former chief minister needs 52 votes to get elected to Rajya Sabha for the second consecutive term.
Phool Singh Baraiya, placed after Digvijaya Singh in the pecking order by the party, does not have the numbers on his side to win.
The Dalit leader hails from Gwalior-Chambal region where most of the 24 vacant assembly seats in MP are located.
Byelection for vacant seats will have to be held by September. A majority of these seats are dominated by scheduled castes.
The ruling BJP is in a comfortable position for today’s election, as it has 107 MLAs of its own and enjoys the support of two MLAs of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), one MLA of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and two Independents.
BJP has the support of 112 in the 230-member Assembly whose effective strength is 206. Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sumer Singh Solanki can get the 52 votes each needs for victory.
Congress MLAs are expected to gather at the residence of state unit chief Kamal Nath around 8 AM today and go to the Assembly in buses for the vote, a party legislator said. This was decided at a meeting on Thursday, the MLA added. The BJP also held lunch meetings of groups of legislators on Thursday.
The election is significant for Jyotiraditya Scindia who joined the BJP after parting ways with the Congress in March this year. 22 of his supporters also resigned as MLAs, leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath government and the return of the BJP government in the state.
A senior BJP leader said if Digvijaya Singh wins at the expense of Phool Kumar Baraiya, it would benefit the BJP in the Assembly by-elections.
“We are going to tell the public about how Digvijaya Singh snatched away the opportunity of a Dalit to reach the Upper House,” he said.