RS polls set to push up BJP tally in House
The Congress-led Opposition’s tally is likely to go down below 100 for the first time in the recent past, creating more space for the Narendra Modi government to push legislations in the Upper House.Updated: Oct 28, 2020, 01:12 IST
The upcoming biennial elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are set to help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) take its Rajya Sabha tally to 92 members and offset losses due to the exit of two key allies — the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal. The Congress-led Opposition’s tally is likely to go down below 100 for the first time in the recent past, creating more space for the Narendra Modi government to push legislations in the Upper House.
The BJP is set to win eight out of the 10 Uttar Pradesh seats and also bag the only Uttarakhand seat that go to poll on November 9. Eleven Rajya Sabha members will retire next month, necessitating this year’s last round of biennial polls.
Out of these 11 seats, the ruling BJP currently holds just three from Uttar Prdesh. The rest are occupied by the Samajwadi Party, Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The BJP’s net gain would be six seats — five from UP and one from Uttarakhand—and its tally would increase to 92 from the present 86.
This will be just enough to compensate for the three seats each of the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal, the two key allies who left the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
Sena quit the NDA after the Maharashtra assembly polls last year and joined the NCP and the Congress to form the state government. The Akalis, another trusted ally of the BJP, left the NDA last month over farm bills.
Even as the NDA would not be able to breach the majority mark in this round of election, it will improve its tally to 118 from 112 in the 245-member House. The Opposition tally, on the other hand, will go down from 101 to 95. The majority mark is 123.
While Lok Sabha members are elected directly by voters, Rajya Sabha members come through a complex process of proportional representation and by votes of MLAs of their respective state. The calculation is: (total number of MLAs of the state ÷ number of seats going to poll in the state +1) +1. Simply put, more MLAs of a party in an assembly means more seats for the party in the Rajya Sabha.
Each MLA will give ranking of candidates according to his or her preference. If a candidate gets the minimum requisite votes, he or she would be elected. But if a candidate fails to get the requisite votes from the first preference of voters in a contest, the second preference votes would be counted.
Even as it is in numerical minority, the NDA’s political clout has helped it gain support from regional outfits such as Tamil Nadu’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal, Andhra Pradesh’s YSR Congress Party and pass key bills such as those on triple talaq and bifurcating the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
During its initial days in power, the Modi government faced the Opposition heat in the Upper House, where bills would be regularly stalled. On one occasion, amendments to the President’s speech was approved in the Opposition-dominated Rajya Sabha in an embarrassment for the government.
“You will notice that in last two years the BJP has managed to get its way in the Rajya Sabha with the support of other parties,” said political analyst Sandeep Shastri. “What will change now is that the BJP will assert itself more without the support of other parties. It is the same difference you see in the NDA of 2014 and NDA of 2020 (when it won more seats in the national elections). There is no non-BJP minister in the cabinet. A consolidation of the BJP is likely to be witnessed in the Rajya Sabha as well.”