Come June 19, the BJP, along with its allies, other supporters and the friendly AIADMK will be less than 10 seats short of the majority mark of 123 in the 245-member Rajya Sabha. Polling for 24 seats in the upper house of Parliament is scheduled for June 19.
The Narendra Modi government will have an enhanced strength of 115 members in the chamber.
The Bharatiya Janata Party alone is likely to have 84 seats, nine up from the present 75. Its NDA partners – the Janata Dal-United with five, the Shiromani Akali Dal with three and the Asom Gana Parishad, the Republican Party of India-A, the Bodoland People’s Front, the Lok Janshakti Party, the Sikkim Democratic Front, the Naga Peoples Front, the National Peoples Party and the Mizo National Front – with one each – will bring 16 seats to the table, taking the alliance total to 100.
This will be supplemented by the support of four nominated and two unattached members, aggregating to 106. The addition of nine members belonging to the AIADMK will take the Modi juggernaut to 115. This figure can undergo a slight change if the BJP is unable to make it in Jharkhand.
As it looks like at the moment, the BJP will bag three of the four seats in Gujarat, two of the three in Madhya Pradesh, one of the three in Rajasthan and one each from Jharkhand, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
By-elections are also due for one seat each in UP, Bihar and Kerala. That would mean a future gain of two seats by the NDA and one seat for the Opposition.
Three parties — the Biju Janata Dal, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the YSR Congress Party, with nine, seven and six seats, respectively — which tend to come to the aid of the government on most crucial junctures, can provide a cushion of another 22 votes.
The Samajwadi Party (eight) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (four), after travelling some distance in the company of the Congress and other opposition parties, have drifted away from them. So has the Telugu Desam Party led by N. Chandrababu Naidu. His party has one member. Depending upon their calculations at a given time, they can swing to either side. BJP managers can negotiate with them for support by their 13 members at any time.
The opposition camp, which dominated the Upper House once upon a time, is now on a downward slide. Its combined strength will be around 90 seats. The principal opposition party Congress has 39 members. It will come down to 37, dropping one seat each in Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram and gaining one in Rajasthan. The Janata Dal-Secular may bag one seat in Karnataka.
The Election Commission had initiated the process for filling 55 slots in April. A total of 37 people were elected unopposed. However, the process for the remaining 18 seats – Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat (four each), Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan (three each), Jharkhand (two) and Manipur and Meghalaya (one each) — was deferred due to the lockdown. Polling for another set of six seats — four from Karnataka and one each from Arunachal and Mizoram — which fall vacant in June-July, has also been fixed for June 19.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the advantage after the resignation of three Congress MLAs in Gujarat.
Congress senior spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the party couldn’t stop anybody from resigning due to lacunae in law. But the BJP was using it in a mala fide manner to manufacture majority, he added.
“The BJP is brazenly using power to reduce the strength of the Assembly,” Singhvi said.
The Congress strength in the 182-member Assembly has come down to 65 from 77 Ten seats are vacant.
Rajeev Satav, party in-charge in Gujarat, said, “We hope to win the second seat. As per our calculation, we need one more vote to sail through.”
But the equation is not that simple as the BJP has fielded a fifth candidate. The BJP has 103 members in the Assembly.
According to a Congress insider, the BJP will need 3 more votes after each candidate receiving 35 votes. The Congress needs 71 votes and its calculation depends on the votes of the NCP and other smaller parties.
Last time as the six Congress MLAs rebelled, the party had despatched legislators to Bengaluru. This time to keep the flock together, the MLAs have been sent to Rajasthan.
In 2017, Ahmed Patel had snatched victory from the BJP’s jaws after two votes of Congress rebels were declared invalid by the Election Commission as they were shown to the BJP election agent before casting.
Shakti Singh Gohil, the Congress election agent, had raised objections to the ballot paper being shown to the BJP agent. Gohil is also a candidate this time.
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