BJP maintains dominance in Rajya Sabha, Cong footprint rises marginally
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) effectively retained its tally of 95 seats in the Rajya Sabha with the help of Independent MP Kartikeya Sharma after the latest round of biennial elections, once again demonstrating the ruling dispensation’s ability to pull extra votes and win key seats.
In the fiercely-fought poll, the BJP won three seats each from Maharashtra and Karnataka. Its candidates won in Rajasthan and Haryana and an independent candidate it backed in Haryana also won. Purely on numbers, it should have won two each in Karnataka and Maharashtra, and the independent candidate backed by it should not have won. Thus, effectively, the party won three more seats than it was expected to.
The BJP’s ascent in the Rajya Sabha had lifted its tally from 68 seats at the beginning of 2018 to 95 before this round of biennial elections. Now, after all the results are out, the ruling party has effectively maintained that tally with the help of an independent in Haryana.
National Democratic Alliance's ally, Janata Dal (United) or the JD(U), however, maintained its tally of two seats in the Rajya Sabha.
The BJP’s biggest gain came from Uttar Pradesh where it won the assembly elections in March. Out of the 11 Rajya Sabha seats that went to polls from India’s most populous state, the BJP won eight — an addition of three seats to its earlier tally of five. This big victory in UP helped the BJP compensate for the loss of three seats in Rajasthan, and one seat each in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.
The Congress’s net gain was one seat in these elections. It won a total of 10 out of the 57 seats that went to the polls. The party gained three seats in Rajasthan and one in Chhattisgarh, while it lost a seat each in Uttarakhand, Punjab and Karnataka. In Haryana, its candidate Ajay Maken failed to win.
The marginal increase could provide some cheer for the Congress that has lost a string of state elections to the BJP and some regional parties, although the losses in Haryana, Karnataka (where it could not strike a deal with the JDS) and Maharashtra (where a Shiv Sena candidate from the MVA alliance lost) will worry it. The other big gainer is the Aam Aadmi Party, cashing in on its victory in the Punjab elections. Arvind Kejriwal’s party won both Rajya Sabha seats of Punjab that went to polls in this round, taking its Rajya Sabha tally to 10.
The DMK and the BJD retained 3 seats each, and the SP and BSP lost two seats each.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story has been tweaked to reflect a change.