Rajya Sabha deadlock - BJP must win State Assembly polls

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the 4th straight day on Friday, December 19, 2014. The Opposition which is in majority in the House has ganged up to derail the functioning of the Rajya Sabha. They want PM Modi's statement on conversion row. BJP too stuck to its ground and didn't yield. Trinamool Congress is upset at CBI arresting its prominent leaders in Saradha scam. Congress has been demolished in Lok Sabha so it is thinking of creating some nuisance value. Janata Parivar leaders are fighting for their survival. All this has led to disruption of the Parliament and many important bills like GST, FDI in Insurance are stuck. This is hampering the development agenda of Modi Government. So it is very important for BJP to get a majority as soon as possible in the Upper House. Arun Jaitley has called it arrogance of numbers while Opposition is terming it as majority party tyranny.

NDA Government is in minority in Rajya Sabha. It has only 60 members (BJP 45) out of total strength of 245. It can rely on support of AIADMK (11) and Biju Janata Dal (7). However, this is not enough. The parties which see BJP and Modi as a threat have come under a common platform led by Congress (69) which includes old Janata Party members, Trinamool Congress and Mayawati

Members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by MLAs/MLCs of the State legislatures. They are elected for a term of six years (more than Lok Sabha MP’s tenure). One third of the members retire every two years. The party which is in power in the State is able to send in more members to Rajya Sabha.

Congress in the recent past (last year) has lost in many States - Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Haryana. So whenever their members from these seats retire, majority of them won’t get re-elected. This will reduce their overall strength. As these States have been won by BJP and allies (except for Telangana), their number would increase.

How will BJP increase its numbers in Rajya Sabha? This will facilitate easier and better governance and smooth functioning of the Parliament. The BJP has to keep on winning in more and more States for sending more members to Rajya Sabha when current members retire.

Polls to two States, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir, is underway. BJP is expected to improve upon its earlier performance. In the next four years before next Lok Sabha polls in April/May 2019, the States (mentioned in table below) will go to polls where BJP is not in power at the moment. As it can be seen from the table, in all these States except for Bihar (probably, because of Nitish & Lalu joining hands), BJP would improve upon its performance vis-a-vis last time. Be it Assam, Delhi, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu or Uttar Pradesh, everywhere it would do much better.

So when will BJP get majority in Rajya Sabha? This depends upon the number of seats coming up for re-election in the coming years. In 2015, only 10 members retire, even if BJP wins all 10 (highly unlikely) it won’t get majority. In 2016, 75 seats will come up for re-election. Among these, BJP will increase its seats in Assam, Andhra, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Rajasthan. It will lose some seats in Karnataka. BJP will become the single largest party in Rajya Sabha by 2016 end.

In 2017 again, only 10 seats will be up for re-election. BJP will gain in West Bengal. In 2018, 68 seats will come up for re-election, if BJP wins UP then there will be significant gains for NDA. However, even in 2018, BJP/NDA won’t be able to get majority (123/245) in Rajya Sabha. It will be able to reach this figure only with the help of nominated MPs (10) and AIADMK/BJD.

So, expect to see disturbances in Rajya Sabha for the next few years. More States BJP wins, more Opposition unity and more chaos.

Assumption: It is assumed that BJP will be able to hold on to the current States it is in power whenever elections take place next time.

courtesy Niti Central



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