Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of misusing government machinery and creating an atmosphere of fear to defeat the BSP candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections.
So emphatic was Mayawati's response that Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted with alacrity: "I welcome the views expressed by Mayawati Ji today".
The Rajya Sabha polls saw the BJP bag a total of nine out of 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, while the SP-BSP backed SP won a solitary seat.
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Ms Mayawati offered a word of advice to Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav who she said had "committed a tiny lapse" due to his "political inexperience" in not giving preference to the BSP candidate during the voting and trusting the Independent MLA from Kunda, Raghuraj Pratap Singh, alias Raja Bhaiya. "BJP's Rajya Sabha win is no match to their defeat in two prestigious Lok Sabha seats of Gorakhpur and Phulpur in bypolls", she said. Its 28 candidates emerged victorious in the polls held on Friday against 17 retiring members, while the Congress won only 10 seats while 14 of its members will retire next week.
She said one MLA from BSP had cross-voted because of selfish interests and has been thrown out of the party. The SP returned the favour by polling its surplus votes in favour of the BSP, but the BJP's Anil Agarwal managed to go through to the Upper House.
"I would like to tell BJP and company that their malpractices will not succeed in breaking the ties between SP and BSP".
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Hours later, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav responded by saying that the BJP's conspiracy to prevent a Dalit [BSP's candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar] from being elected, had "strengthened the unity" of the SP and the BSP for future elections. "Even BJP is aware of this", she said. The Allahabad High Court has denied permission to BSP's Mukhtar Ansari, now lodged in Banda jail, to vote in the Rajya Sabha elections.
Replying to a query, Mayawati did not rule out the possibility of Congress as part of the BSP-SP alliance in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. "When her MLA voted for our Rajya Sabha candidate, then she says money is being used in elections, but when Om Prakash Rajbhar voted for them, she calls it a vote of conscience, Singh said, adding the Rajya Sabha elections were done in a transparent manner".
"This loss (Rajya Sabha election) can not be equated with the BJP's defeat in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls".
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Susan Spicka, the executive director of an organization called Education Voters of Pennsylvania, attended the hearing. She shared a Facebook post calling out the laughter and joking mannerisms of the lawmakers.
The BSP leader also alleged that two MLAs of other parties who wanted to vote for his party nominee were abducted and there were several anomalies in the counting. "Nitin Agarwal cast his vote without showing it to the election agent and we have demanded the cancellation of his vote", SP MLC Sunil Singh Sajan said.