New Delhi, Mar 25: The just-concluded biennial polls to the Rajya Sabha has enhanced BJP’s strength in the Upper House to 69 — a straight jump by 20 numbers in the 245-member House — from 49 what was the saffron party strength in May 2016.
In the changed scenario, as the BJP strength increases and the Congress tally nosedives to 50 (from 54), the ruling dispensation will get addition leeway or the crucial room to maneuver in the House of Elders especially for carrying out crucial legislative business.
The increase in BJP strength in Rajya Sabha is largely due to party’s and its regional partners maintaining the winning spree in state elections across the country. BJP and NDA partners are now ruling over 21 states in the country while the Congress rule reduced to Punjab, Mizoram and poll-bound Karnataka.
The increase in headcount in Rajya is only a “natural consequence” of BJP winning elections and the support base of BJP and NDA increasing explains a BJP leader.
The party source maintained that the non-cooperation of Congress and other opposition parties have often stalled government’s key reforms agenda and legislative business. “Now as that gap is narrowed, the government is much comfortable in House of Elders. But it is also true that we will continue to need the active and positive cooperation of some regional parties like Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK,” a party leader told UNI.
In the entire bargain, however, the ruling party is still far away from the majority mark as the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has lately also lost Andhra Pradesh-based Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which has moved out of the ruling combine. The TDP has six members in the House.
However, there is optimism in the Treasury Bench as there is a feeling that enhanced numbers for the likes of AIADMK and TRS of Telangana can help the government pass key bills in Rajya Sabha.
K Chandrashekar Rao-led TRS, which has three members in Rajya Sabha, won three seats in the recently held biennial polls.
The ruling dispensation is also banking on parties like YSR Congress and the Biju Janata Dal – both outside the NDA front but have been active “cooperating” with the government.
Moreover, more bitter critics of Narendra Modi, the Samajwadi Party which has 18 members in the Upper House now has turned biggest loser in the Rajya Sabha elections due to its dismal performance in 2017 Assembly polls in UP. The chunk of it went to the saffron kitty.
The five-member strong BSP of Mayawati also is a big loser in the bargain.
It is these permutations and combinations that had led the BJP floor managers hopeful of much comfortable business in the Rajya Sabha.
In retrospect, in August 2017, the BJP had emerged as the single largest party when its number tally in Upper House had shot up to 58 as against 54 of Congress.
In the recent biennial polls, BJP reaped maximum benefit winning 11 seats extra – those included nine from Uttar Pradesh alone.