The Upper House now has five vacancies and the combined strength of the ruling NDA is around 106.
A steady exodus of opposition MPs has made the numbers more favourable than ever for the Modi government in the Rajya Sabha as the ruling NDA is now barely short of a majority and is comfortably placed with the support of friendly regional parties. One more Congress MP quit his party on Wednesday and BJP sources said they expect more desertion from opposition ranks as political parties gear up for Parliament’s Winter Session.
After a united opposition managed to thwart its legislative agenda in the House often during much of the first term, the ruling BJP negated the opposition’s numerical superiority by wooing its members and coopting fence-sitters in Parliament’s first session when it came back to power with a stronger mandate With the Congress MP quitting the party on Wednesday, its strength in Rajya Sabha has come down to 45 and the BJP, due to its bigger numbers in the state assembly, is likely to grab the seat when the bypoll is held there, taking its tally to 83 in the 245-member. tendered his resignation and is likely to join the BJP. The Upper House now has five vacancies and the combined strength of the ruling NDA is around 106.
The AIADMK, which is not officially an NDA constituent but has mostly backed the government, has 11 members along with seven of the BJD, six of the TRS and two of the YSR Congress, three other regional parties with a record of supporting the Modi government on key issues. BJP managers are of the view that a few more opposition MPs will leave their parties in the coming weeks in states where it has the numbers to grab the seats during by-polls. Fresh off its big win in the recent Lok Sabha polls, the BJP worked on a number of MPs from parties like the Congress, TDP and Samajwadi Party to win them over to its side to ensure that the Modi government in its second term does not face same hurdles in the Upper House that it did in its first stint.
A united opposition, which enjoyed numerical advantage over the NDA, had often frustrated its legislative agenda during the first term by blocking its bills. However, boosted by its bigger mandate in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP successfully broke the opposition’s ranks. Many regional parties, which were not officially aligned with either of the two main blocs in the House, also rallied around the saffron ranks, resulting in the passage of the contentious triple talaq bill and the resolution to nullify provisions of Article 370.
The Article 370 resolution, which ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, and a bill to divide the state into two union territories was passed by over two-thirds majority in Rajya Sabha, marking a major political triumph for the BJP.