BJP supporters celebrate the party’s victory in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections wearing masks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Saturday.(PTI photo)
BJP supporters celebrate the party’s victory in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections wearing masks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Saturday.(PTI photo)

With impressive poll victories, BJP on track to gaining majority in Rajya Sabha

The BJP is set to outnumber the Congress in the Rajya Sabha next year, on the back of its landslide victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
By Jatin Gandhi and Neelam Pandey | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 13, 2017 11:28 AM IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is set to outnumber the Congress in the Rajya Sabha next year on the back of its landslide victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The BJP’s tally in the 243-member house is likely to go up by at least 12 seats to 68 by June 2018, while the Congress’ tally may come down to 51.

Although the NDA – which could have at least 98 members in the house by June next year – will still not have a majority, the ruling combine can garner numerical strength with the help of friendly parties such as the AIADMK and the BJD to get legislations passed. On the other hand, four nominated members brought in by the erstwhile UPA government will retire in the next 18 months.

Since the BJP’s landslide victory 2014, opposition parties took advantage of the government’s numerical inferiority in the upper house to stall proposed legislations and even force amendments in the motion of thanks to the President’s address. It is also important for the ruling party to have enough numbers in the Rajya Sabha in view of the upcoming presidental polls.

When the seats of BSP supremo Mayawati and fellow-member Munquad Ali fall vacant next year alongside eight others from Uttar Pradesh, the party is unlikely to muster the numbers or support required to bring her back. The BSP did poorly in the polls, winning just 20-odd seats in the 403-member assembly. Besides Mayawati and Ali, six Uttar Pradesh seats belonging to the Samajwadi Party and one each of the Congress and the BJP will be vacated next year.

This year, one seat held by Congress member Shantaram Naik will fall vacant from Goa in July, and nine others – three from Gujarat and six from West Bengal – will be vacated in August. Status quo is expected to be held on all 10 seats.

In the next 13 months, 72 seats will fall vacant. Three of them are nominated ones that will be filled by the ruling party.

The upper house has 245 members, a third of whom retire every two years. The BJP currently has 56 members in the Rajya Sabha, and the Congress is still the single-largest party at 59. Given the SP’s dismal performance in the Uttar Pradesh polls, it is likely to see five of its 18 seats go to the BJP. The Telugu Desam Party, the saffron party’s ally in Andhra Pradesh, is likely to gain two seats – pushing up the NDA’s numbers.

By January next year, the Congress is expected to lose all its three seats from Delhi because it has no MLAs in the 70-member Delhi assembly.

After getting 12 more seats under its belt by June next year, the BJP will become the single-largest party in the Rajya Sabha with 68 members. The party already has an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha.

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