The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is inching towards a majority in the Upper House and it is likely to reach the magic figure of 124 seats by 2021-end, depending on the outcome of the Assembly elections in Maharastra, Haryana and Jharkhand later this year.
This will remove the handicap that pinned down the NDA government during its first tenure, failing to clear many controversial pieces of legislation such as the triple talaq Bill and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Upper House.
Both sides stand neck and neck in the Rajya Sabha. The NDA currently has 102 members with the BJP’s 73, and the Opposition 101 with the Congress’s 50.
Eight seats are falling vacant in 2019 — two in Assam and six in Tamil Nadu. Both the seats in Assam are with the Congress.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a Rajya Sabha member from here and will retire on June 14. Of the six seats in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK occupies four, the CPI one and the DMK one. The AIADMK will now lose one of the seats, while the DMK will get two more.
The largest attrition will take place in 2020 when 72 members will retire. Among them, 15 are Congress members and the party will not be able to retain a majority of the seats.
By 2020, the Left parties who together have seven MPs will be down to five. Two of its MPs — D. Raja of the CPI who retires in June this year and T.K. Rangarajan of the CPI(M) in 2020 — might not be able to return.
More than the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party will have their presence whittled down in the Rajya Sabha. As many as 10 seats will fall vacant in the State in 2020 and the BJP’s huge majority in the State means it can win nine of them. The Samajwadi Party, which has 13 members currently, will lose six in 2020 and will only be able to reoccupy one of those seats. The BSP, which has four members now, will lose two seats in 2020 and will not be able to reoccupy either of them.
Among the major names, Sharad Pawar of the NCP will retire in 2020 and whether he comes back or not will be decided by the Maharashtra results.
In 2020, Bihar will also go to the polls and if the sentiment of the Lok Sabha polls carries over to this Assembly election too, then the equation will further change.
By the BJP’s own estimate, it is only by 2021 that the NDA can have a shot at reaching the 124-seat mark, giving it room to move and clear controversial legislation stalled by the Rajya Sabha.