New Delhi: In the Rajya Sabha, where many crucial bills of the BJP-led NDA government remain pending due to the lack of a majority, the ruling party is hopeful that it will secure a “working majority” after the March 23 biennial polls to 58 seats in the Upper House, including 10 from UP. Besides the biennial elections, polling will also be held for the Kerala seat vacated after the resignation of JD-U member M.P. Veerendra Kumar in December. Mr Kumar’s term was due to end in April 2022. The ruling party’s floor managers in the Upper House claim that the NDA will get a majority in the 245-member House if members of “friendly parties” like the AIADMK, TRS, BJD and YSR are also added to the ruling alliance tally.
The seats falling vacant are from Andhra Pradesh (3), Bihar (6), Chhattisgarh (1), Gujarat (4), Haryana (1), Himachal (1), Karnataka (4), Madhya Pradesh (5), Maharashtra (6), Telangana (3), Uttar Pradesh (10), Uttarakhand (1), West Bengal (5), Odisha (3), Rajasthan (3) and Jharkhand (2). In UP, where the maximum seats will fall vacant, the BJP expects to win at least nine. In Rajasthan, now under BJP rule, the BJP hopes to bag all three against the one it has, and in Maharashtra the party and its ally Shiv Sena are expected to bag four of the six seats against the two they have at present.
The NDA’s numbers are expected to fall in states like Bihar, where it could win three, unlike the six it currently holds, while in Gujarat it is unlikely to retain more than two of the four seats. Though not a part of treasury benches, regional parties like the AIADMK, TRS, BJD and YSR have often refrained from joining the Opposition camp led by the Congress in blocking the government’s agenda. The BJP has already surpassed the Congress to become the largest party in the Rajya Sabha, with 58 seats, in contrast to the latter’s current tally of 54. The terms of several Union ministers, including Arun Jaitley, Prakash Javadekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Ramdas Athawale are ending.