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Now, INLD’s lone RS MP joins BJP

Ram Kumar Kashyap, the lone Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MP from Haryana, became the latest to join the BJP ranks in the Rajya Sabha.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2019 00:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The BJP’s tally came down to 74 after Rajasthan MP Madan Lal Saini died on Monday. Kashyap’s entry took it back to 75.
The BJP’s tally came down to 74 after Rajasthan MP Madan Lal Saini died on Monday. Kashyap’s entry took it back to 75.(Twitter/@mudgal_jayant)
         

One more Rajya Sabha member from the Opposition joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday after four did so last week, helping the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) alliance steadily improve its position in the Upper House, where it is still in a minority.

Ram Kumar Kashyap, the lone Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MP from Haryana, became the latest to join the BJP ranks in the Rajya Sabha. He and two-time former MP from Kannur in Kerala, AP Abdullakutty, who has been in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress, joined the party in the presence of its working president Jagat Prakash Nadda.

The BJP now has 75 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, whose current strength is 235. Four Telugu Desam Party MPs joined the BJP last week, increasing its tally from 71 to 75. The BJP’s tally came down to 74 after Rajasthan MP Madan Lal Saini died on Monday. Kashyap’s entry took it back to 75.

A former member of the Haryana Public Service Commission, Kashyap entered the Rajya Sabha in 2014 and his term ends next April. He was associated with the INLD since 2011 and has changed his political affiliation months ahead of the Assembly elections in Haryana.

Two INLD members of the legislative assembly, Zakir Hussain and Parminder Singh Dhul, joined the BJP on Tuesday.

The NDA’s minority status in the Rajya Sabha had impaired the government’s ability to win passage for several crucial legislations introduced by the government during the first term of the Narendra Modi government in 2014-19. “Our [BJP’s] tally will increase to 78 with external affairs minister S Jaishankar and JM Thakor, and Ashwini Vaishanv joining the Rajya Sabha next month from Gujarat and Odisha respectively,” a BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.

June 28 is the last date for withdrawal of nominations and all three candidates are expected to be elected unopposed. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has supported Vaishan’s candidacy in Odisha. Ram Vilas Paswan, whose Lok Janshakti Party is an ally of the ruling party, is also set to get elected to the Upper House, increasing the tally of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) further.

Besides the likely 78 MPs that BJP will have in the Rajya Sabha by next month, 13 MPs of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, six of Janata Dal (United) and three each of the Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal owe allegiance to the NDA.

Asom Gana Parishad, Bodoland People’s Front, Naga Peoples Front, Republican Party of India (A) and Sikkim Democratic Front have one MP each. Counting Paswan, the total number of NDA MPs will be 108 by early next month in the 245-member House. The NDA also has the support of at least four independent and three nominated MPs, and the BJD, which would have seven members next month, is expected to support the party on key legislations. “The BJP will be better placed in the Rajya Sabha by middle of the next year,” the BJP leader cited above said. Elections take place for 54 Rajya Sabha seats in April and five more in July next year.

First Published: Jun 27, 2019 00:45 IST

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