Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Tuesday named former MLA Bhimrao Ambedkar the party’s nominee for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. The biennial elections will be held on March 23 to replace the 58 Rajya Sabha members who are set to retire later this year.
Ambedkar, a Dalit leader, is from Uttar Pradesh’s Etawah district and has been with the party since the time of its founder Kanshi Ram, The Indian Express reported.
Mayawati is believed to have said at a meeting with MLAs in Lucknow that the Congress has agreed to support BSP’s nominee in the Rajya Sabha elections. “Mayawati’s condition was that the BSP will support the Congress candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh if its MLAs supported BSP in Uttar Pradesh,” a party leader, who did not wish to be named, told The Indian Express.
“I thank honourable behenji [Mayawati] for providing this opportunity to a person like me,” Ambedkar told ANI.
On Sunday, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister struck a similar deal with the Samajwadi Party. “We have spoken to SP and have decided that we will support their Lok Sabha candidates for the bye-polls in Gorakhpur and Phulpu, and [the] SP will support our Rajya Sabha candidate in return,” said Mayawati.
The terms of the 58 Rajya Sabha members from 16 states expires in April and May. Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of retiring members, at 10, followed by Maharashtra and Bihar (6), Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal (5), Gujarat and Karnataka (4), Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Rajasthan (3), Jharkhand (2), and Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand (1).
Mayawati had resigned from the Rajya Sabha in July 2017, claiming that she was not being allowed to speak on alleged atrocities against Dalits under the National Democratic Alliance government.