Rajya Sabha: Modi gains the Upper House edge despite NDA still short of majority

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Updated: Jun 22, 2020 4:11 PM

BJP, NDA Seats In Rajya Sabha: After the latest round of Rajya Sabha biennial polls, the BJP has now 86 MPAs and rival Congress has 41. The NDA has nearly 100 members in the 245-member House.

Rajya Sabha Election 2020: Ruling BJP-led NDA widens gap with Opposition in Upper House.

Rajya Sabha Election Result, Rajya Sabha Seats 2020: The Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA has further cemented its strength in the Rajya Sabha after the just concluded biennial elections. This is the first time since 2014 when the ruling alliance has crossed the 100-mark and is comfortably placed in the Upper House despite all the talk about the opposition’s unity. While majority still eludes the NDA by a distance, there are indicators to suggest that any challenge to its Legislative agenda can be easily surmounted. The Modi government continues to enjoy a brute majority in the Lok Sabha, its numerical disadvantage in the Rajya Sabha, however, has hindered the government’s plans. This was clearly visible in the first term (2014-19) when the opposition parties stalled several key legislation like triple talaq, CAA and others.

In 2018, when the BJP lost states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the party’s goal of gaining a majority on its own in the Rajya Sabha appeared to be far from being achieved. However, the BJP relied on its strength in the state assemblies and banked on defection from other parties this election, especially the Congress, that helped it to boost its strength in the House.

After the 2019 general election, when the BJP returned to power with more seats than it had won in 2014, the party’s agenda to push key legislation was a distant dream. But the support of friendly parties like Biju Janata Dal of Naveen Patnaik, YSR Congress of Jagan Mohan, AIADMK, several nominated members and smaller parties, the Modi government pushed its agenda and successfully scrapped Article 370, bifurcated J&K into two UTs, enacted the triple talaq law, amended Citizenship Act and UAPA among others.

With the latest round of biennial polls, the BJP has now 86 MPAs and rival Congress has 41. The National Democratic Alliance now has nearly 100 members in the 245-member House. If the support of friendly parties like the AIADMK (9), BJD (9), YSR Congress Party (6), and several allied nominated members and smaller parties is counted, then the Modi government is unlikely to face any serious numerical challenge.

The Election Commission had announced biennial polls to 61 seats, including 55 in March. While 42 members were elected unopposed, BJP won eight, Congress and the YSR Congress four each and others three of the 19 seats that went to polls last week. The BJP won a couple of more seats, credit defection from several Congress MLAs in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. In total, the BJP won 17, Congress 9, BJP ally JDU three, BJD and the TMC four each, AIADMK and DMK three each, NCP, RJD and the TRS two each, and others rest.

Interestingly, out of the 61 new MPs, 43 are first-timers, which include BJP’s Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress. Both have been members of Lok Sabha, but lost general elections in 2019. Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda and former Lok Sabha deputy speaker M Thambi Durai have also been elected to Rajya Sabha.

Although the BJP is yet to gain the magic number on its own in the Rajya Sabha, its job has now become quite easier. The government is likely to further push its agenda that it has been promising since long which includes Uniform Civil Code, NRC and others. Any hindrance by the opposition, especially the Congress, will appear to be too ambitious.

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