The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) has been rattled by the rampant cross voting by its MLAs in the election for 13 Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council) seats held on Friday. Senior party leaders admitted that the SP leadership was aware of as many as half a dozen of its legislators voting for the BJP. This number could be higher, they agree.Since there were 14 candidates in fray for the 13 seats, it was clear from the very beginning that there would be some cross voting. However, no one among the SP top brass would have imagined that so many of the party MLAs would brazenly cross ranks. The cross voting bodes rather ill for the ruling party which faces a crucial election in less than a year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>SP leader Shivpal Yadav admitted he was aware of the cross voting. “We are identifying the miscreants and the party will take severe action against such MLAs,” he said.However, the MLAs would be least bothered well aware that the party can do little to get their membership of the House forfeited under the anti-defection act with less than a year left for their term to end. SP MLAs, who are more or less sure that they would not get the party ticket this time, are known to be have led the pack of cross voters in an obvious attempt to secure tickets from the BJP in the coming election.Two of the SP MLAs, in fact, spoke out against their party after reportedly having voted for the BJP. “If some one strikes at you, you will surely raise your hand in self defence. Your mind will work to protect your body,” said SP MLA Bhagwan Sharma aka Guddu Pandit after voting, perhaps implying that he had been ill treated by the SP and had got back by cross voting. He and his brother Mukesh Sharma have reportedly voted for the BJP, though they did not confirm this on record, for that would have led to their votes being rejected. Voting in the Vidhan Parishad election is done by secret ballot.Similarly, Rajesh Tripathi, BSP MLA who had been expelled from the party, is learnt to have voted for the SP while Sudesh Sharma, an RLD MLA, said on record that he had voted for the BJP on the directions of his party chief Ajit Singh. Sharma’s vote is likely to be declared null and void for publicly declaring his choice.In the circumstances, the BJP looks clearly responsible for engineering the cracks in the SP. With its present strength in the UP Assembly, it could have won only one MLC seat. But, it deliberately put up two candidates, apparently to lure MLAs from other parties and test the waters, as it were, for the coming assembly election.The BJP is playing a similar game in the election for 11 Rajya Sabha seats to be held on Saturday. Apart from its official candidate, it has also propped up an independent candidate Preeti Mahapatra.
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