While Thursday’s poll results threw up decisive verdicts, the outcome would not lead to any immediate significant structural change in the composition of Rajya Sabha, where the NDA is in minority and faces crucial political battles.
However, the coming months could bring some relief for the NDA government in terms of pushing its legislative agenda, especially after Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee announced her support for the GST Bill following her party’s historic victory in West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa also not averse to the idea of helping the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre from time to time.
Biennial elections to six Rajya Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu are set to be held next month. Three AIADMK members (party’s floor leader in House A Navaneethakrishnan, Manoj Paul Pandian and Rabi Bernard), two of DMK (K P Ramalingam and S Thangavelu), and Congress’s E M Sudarsana Natchiappan are scheduled to retire on June 29.
The AIADMK is sure to retain its three seats; the DMK, too, is likely to retain its two. The fate of the sixth seat is uncertain – neither AIADMK nor the DMK-Congress combine has the requisite strength to win it on the basis of first-preference votes. If the Congress remains unsuccessful in keeping the seat, its strength in the Upper House would go down from 64 to 63.
West Bengal accounts for 16 seats. Six members complete their terms in August 2017, five in April 2018, and a further five in April 2020. Four of the six MPs retiring next year belong to TMC, and one each to Congress and CPM. The TMC is likely to pick up five of them, snatching one from CPI(M), while the Congress would retain its seat. This would reduce CPM’s tally from eight to seven, but then there is one full year to go.
Kerala has to send nine MPs to the Rajya Sabha. Biennial elections for three seats having taken place only last month, the next set of three vacancies will occur in July 2018, to be followed by another round of biennial polls in 2021. The three members who will retire in 2018 are UDF’s Joy Abraham (Kerala Congress-M) and P J Kurien (Congress), and the LDF’s C P Narayanan (CPM).
One seat will obviously change hands— from UDF to LDF — but it would not matter at the national level, as both formations are opposed to the NDA. However, it would offer CPM an opportunity to either make up for its loss in West Bengal a year before, or pass it on to an LDF partner.
Of Assam’s seven Rajya Sabha seats two were filled last month. The next biennial polls for sending two fresh MPs are due in June 2019 – after the next Lok Sabha poll deadline. Therefore, results of these elections will be reflected in Rajya Sabha only in 2020, when Biswajit Daimary of Bodoland People’s Front and Congress MPs Bhubaneswar Kalita and Sanjay Singh complete their tenure.
The sole Puducherry MP, N Gokulakrishnan of AIADMK, was elected only last October.