The exit poll indicators might be music to the ears of the BJP, but the task of governance may turn out to be rather a bumpy ride for the new government. The reason: The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) does not have adequate numbers in the Rajya Sabha to enable it to get important legislation passed.
Of the existing House strength of 240 members (with five vacancies), the strength of the BJP-led NDA accumulates to 64 — well short of the half-way mark of 121.
If the numbers predicted by the exit polls hold, the NDA will find it extremely difficult to reverse the numbers game to its advantage in the short run.
Besides the existing five vacancies, 12 new vacancies will be created in the council of states this year.
Seven of these vacancies will arise in Uttar Pradesh, two in Karnataka and one each in Uttarakhand, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
While it will be a tall order for the BJP or NDA partners to win these seats, even the hypothetical possibility of winning all these seats will not take the coalition to the majority mark.
Essentially, the NDA coalition will need to heavily lean on the support of regional parties, including Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress or Jayalalitha’s AIADMK, to get the Rajya Sabha’s sanction on the legislation it proposes.
“The situation might turn out to be quite problematic,” said an observer.
The AIADMK has 10 members in the Rajya Sabha against 12 of the TMC, 14 of the BSP, nine of the SP, six of the BJD, nine of the CPM and two of the CPI.
At least half of these parties are unlikely to support the proposals moved by the NDA government.
Despite its stronger presence in the Rajya Sabha (see box), the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government was unable to get several bills passed in the Upper House.
These included the direct tax code and the goods and services tax bills, apart from a slew of anti-graft legislation and the disability rights bill.
The women’s reservation bill — which has since lapsed —will also need to be moved afresh in Parliament.