Though the BJP is getting Shiv Sena’s support in the government to attain complete majority in the Assembly, it may still need the Nationalist Congress Party for smooth business in the Upper House of state legislature, where the saffron alliance doesn’t have majority.
In the 78-member Legislative Council, the NCP is the largest party with 27 members, followed by Congress (21), BJP (9) and Shiv Sena (6), independents (7) and smaller parties (3). Four seats are vacant. The BJP-Sena combine would have a combined strength of 15, and would need 22 more for majority in the house to pass crucial legislations.
With its natural claim to the post of the leader of Opposition, the NCP is expected to emerge as the major Opposition party in the council. After BJP turned down NCP’s support in the Assembly, the Sharad Pawar-led party is left with no alternative but to function as an Opposition party in the Council.
However, its leaders are pointing out the BJP will have to seek cooperation from the NCP for passage of bills and smooth functioning in the Upper house of the legislature. The two Opposition parties — NCP and Congress — together have a strength of 48 and can stall passage of major bills in the Council to create hurdles for the BJP government.
To convert any bill into a law, it needs to be passed in both the houses of the state legislature. Though it would be easy for the government to pass the bills in the Assembly due to its majority, the NCP-Congress can embarrass it in the Council. Not surprisingly, the government will have to take the NCP into confidence on all counts.
Technically, no party in the Opposition enjoys undisputed powers to corner the ruling parties, but it could delay the procedure and upset their calculations.
“It is true that the NCP or any Opposition party can stall the bill in the Council, but it cannot stop the government from passing it. If rejected in the Council, the government can re-introduce it in the Assembly after the lapse of one month and get it passed for the second time. Thus passed twice by the Assembly, any bill is deemed to have been passed by the council after a period of another one month,” an official from the legislative secretariat said.
He added the government always has the right of issuance for the ordinance in case of delay due to Opposition in the council. The council has powers to only recommend amendements to the money bills, but it is not binding on the government to accept them. This means the Opposition party does not enjoy the absolute power in the council.
“However, a delay and time lapse may cause major embarrassment to the government. No ruling party would like to face such a situation and always insist on the passage of the bills by taking the Opposition into confidence,” said a leader from the NCP.