New Delhi, Jan 5, 2020-
Getting the majority in the Rajya Sabha has been like the elusive holy grail for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Haryana and Maharashtra — two big states that went to the polls last year — had given the BJP hopes to move steadily in that direction. As 73 upper House seats go to polls this year, the BJP’s dream for a majority will continue to remain a dream, at least for now.
Out of the 73 seats that will go for election, 69 will fall vacant this year. Out of the Rajya Sabha MPs whose tenure will come to an end, necessitating the poll, 18 belong to the ruling party, while 17 are from the Congress. Four seats have been lying vacant anyway.
This year alone, 10 seats from Uttar Pradesh will get vacated. Though BJP won’t get harmed there as the state government is being run by the saffron party, the party that will be directly hit is the Samajwadi Party which was unseated by Yogi Adityanath government.
In the 245 member upper House, the BJP has 83 members and the Congress has 46. But, the BJP is slated to hover around where it already is and not inch closer to its dream of getting the majority.
The primary reason for it is the five-state loss in a year alone for the BJP. The BJP lost Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in December 2018. 2019, nationally brought good news for the BJP, which swept back to power with an even bigger mandate of 303 seats in the Lok Sabha. But, it is the member count of state Assemblies that affect the number any party has in the Rajya Sabha.
Moreover, 2019 ended in a bleak note for the BJP. Though the BJP grappled to ensure it forms a government in Haryana, its number of MLAs fell. While in the outgoing Assembly, the BJP had 47 MLAs, it came back reduced to 40.
Maharashtra has been an equally sombre story for the BJP where the non-negotiable stand on sharing of the chief minister’s post between the two pre poll allies — BJP and Shiv Sena led to the Sena walking out of the NDA and forming the government with Congress and NCP. In 2014, the BJP accumulated 122 seats in the Maharashtra Assembly, but got 17 seats less in 2019. Whereas, the tally for the Congress rose in both Haryana and Maharashtra by 16 and 13, respectively.
As many BJP biggies like Union Minister Hardeep Puri and senior Delhi BJP leader Vijay Goel are on their way out this year, the majority in the upper House remains the elusive for the ‘World’s largest party’.