The Victory in the Lok Sabha elections has inspired the Congress to think of dumping some of its allies. But the party’s dependence on these very parties in the Rajya Sabha may hold it back.
The Congress has 70 MPs in the Rajya Sabha that has a total strength of 250. The party’s pre-poll allies number 27, making a total of 97. This is still 29 short of the halfway mark of 126.
The NCP has six, National Conference two and the DMK four. The Trinamool Congress has two seats and the Muslim League one, besides five nominated members who are likely to support the Congress.
The configuration of the Upper House is dynamic – with a third of the members retiring every two years. Five seats are vacant now.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said: “Our numbers are comfortable in the Rajya Sabha and 15 MPs from the Upper House have been elected to the Lok Sabha, bringing the effective tally down.”
The position that it has in the upper house may prompt the Congress to take a more lenient view towards the SP and the RJD, which have 13 and four members, respectively, in the Rajya Sabha.
However, the Congress leadership is under pressure from its state units in UP and Bihar to keep both these parties out of power. The SP and the RJD also don’t have many options than sticking to the ruling alliance.
All legislations, except money bills, need the approval of both the houses. The strength of the BJP-led NDA is 71, while the tottering Third Front has 45 MPs.