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Majority mark in Rajya Sabha to remain elusive for BJP in second term of Modi government

The Rajya Sabha is in session on March 25, 2021. Photo: RSTV via PTI  

The majority mark in the Rajya Sabha will remain elusive for the BJP in the second term of the Narendra Modi government, and its performance in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll slated for early next year is crucial for it to maintain its current tally in the Upper House.

At 93, the BJP is 30 members short of the majority mark of 123 in a House of 245 MPs. In the second term, with more than half a dozen Opposition MPs changing loyalty to the BJP, the ruling party had managed to pass controversial Bills, beginning with the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights of Marriage) Bill, 2019 or Triple Talaq Act, along with J&K Re-organisation Bill and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Three rounds of retirements in the year 2022 – April (18 members), June (20 members) and July (33 members) – will bring the last change in the political arithmetic of the Rajya Sabha in the second term of the Modi government.

Impending losses

Major losses for the BJP will come from Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The BJP holds three out of the four seats that go to the polls in Andhra Pradesh after four TDP MPs joined the BJP in June 2019. These three seats will go to the ruling party YSR Congress.

In Rajasthan, too, where the BJP holds all the four seats that fall vacant in July 2022, the Congress has an opportunity. Dissension is already brewing in the State, with Congress leader Sachin Pilot once again raising the flag of rebellion. If the Congress is able to maintain order in its House, it could gain three seats in the Rajya Sabha. In Chhattisgarh, the BJP will lose one seat in the Rajya Sabha elections slated for June next year.

The BJP will gain one seat each in Assam and Himachal Pradesh next June.

This makes Uttar Pradesh crucial for the BJP’s strength in the Upper House. In July next year, 11 seats from Uttar Pradesh will fall vacant. As per the current tally, the BJP holds five of these, which includes two former Samajwadi Party MPs – Sanjay Seth and Surender Singh Nagar – who shifted their loyalties midway through their term. Without repeating its 2017 performance in the State, the BJP cannot hold on to these five seats.

In Punjab, if the current anti-BJP sentiment because of the three controversial farm laws prevails till the polls, the BJP will lose one seat.

The BJP allies will also be affected – the AIADMK strength is expected to be curtailed after its defeat in the recent Assembly poll in Tamil Nadu. Currently, the AIADMK has six members and its political adversary, the DMK, seven.

The three RS seats from the State that are currently vacant are expected to go to the polls any time soon. The DMK will win two of these three. In June next year, four Upper House seats from the State go to the polls. Out of these four, currently the DMK and the AIADMK have two each. DMK insiders sounded confident that they will easily win three of these. On the balance, the DMK is expected to go into double digits, outstripping the AIADMK.

There will be no significant change in the current Congress strength of 34, though it is expected to make gains in Rajasthan (3) and Chhattisgarh (1) on the basis of its current strength in the State Assemblies. It will lose one seat each from Assam, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh.

In Assam, two seats are falling vacant in April next year, including that of the current State unit President Ripun Bora. Out of these two, the Congress can hope to retain one, if its alliance with the AIUDF holds and they decide to support the Congress.

“There is a very significant ‘if’ here. The AIUDF also could stake a claim for the seat,” an Assam MP said.

The party is hoping that the Punjab Assembly results would help even out the losses.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 2:18:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/majority-mark-in-rajya-sabha-to-remain-elusive-for-bjp-in-second-term-of-modi-government/article34620473.ece

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