NDA could increase RS tally, but will be short of majority before 2019 polls
Basic calculations suggest that the BJP and its allies have the required numbers to win half of the 61 Rajya Sabha seats which go to polls before the 2019 general elections. The Congress and the Samajwadi Party will be the biggest losers in these elections.NumberTheory Updated: Mar 07, 2018 10:43 IST
The results of Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya have further increased the national footprint of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A rise in the number of MLAs will also help the BJP in increasing its seats in the Rajya Sabha (RS), where the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) still lacks a majority. While the NDA will definitely add to its current strength of 83 RS seats, it will still be short of a majority until the 2019 elections.
A total of 61 RS seats will come up for election between now and the 2019 general elections, according to Rajya Sabha’s retirement list. This figure includes seats held by four nominated members. These seats are spread over 17 states. The BJP currently holds 17 of these 61 seats while the Congress has 14. Other NDA allies account for six seats among these 61. Fifty-eight RS seats are scheduled for elections on March 23 , 2018.
These include seats other than those in the retirement list as members have resigned before the completion of their terms.
See Chart 1(party-wise and state-wise)
Calculations by Hindustan Times suggest that the BJP alone could add 10 or more seats to its current RS tally of 58 before the 2019 general elections. The gains will be much more for the NDA.
Elections to the RS work differently from the first past the post (FPTP) system, which is applied in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
The number of votes (N) a candidate requires to get elected is calculated using the following formula: N= (T/(S+1)) +1, where T is the number of voters and S is the number of seats up for elections.
Under normal circumstances, T will be the total number of MLAs in an assembly. An example will make it clear: Nine RS members from Uttar Pradesh are retiring on April 2, 2018. So the number of votes required for each candidate to win will be 41.3 (403/10 + 1).
Basic calculations suggest that the BJP and its allies have the required numbers to win half of the 61 RS seats which go to polls before the 2019 general elections.
The Congress and the Samajwadi Party will be the biggest losers in these elections.
The Congress will find it difficult to retain even half of the 17 seats where its members are retiring. The SP has six out of nine RS MPs from Uttar Pradesh who will retire in 2018. On its own it can get just one member re-elected.
BJP’s biggest gains will be in Uttar Pradesh, where it will win at least seven out of the nine seats. It will lose some in the states of Gujarat and Karnataka.
See Chart 2 (required votes and BJP position)
These numbers could change somewhat depending on the degree of opposition unity and the behaviour of independents and even BJP allies such as the Telugu Desam Party and Shiv Sena in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.
Voters (MLAs) also have the option of preferential voting, where they can rank candidates in order of preference. If all seats are not filled by first preference votes, subsequent preferences are taken into account. We have not accounted for such eventualities in our calculations.
Under its present leadership, the BJP has earned a reputation for pulling out all stops when it comes to RS elections and state government formations. It will not be surprising if the NDA aims for winning more seats than what these calculations suggest.
The wins will leave the NDA with 88 seats in the 250-member Rajya Sabha, short of the majority of 126. According to the RS website, there are currently 239 members in the upper house. For getting a majority in the RS, the BJP will have to wait till 2020 when 73 seats will open up for re-election. And that will happen provided the BJP does not suffer any drastic reversals in many states which go to polls before 2020.