Updated: March 5, 2020 7:08:51 am
In the March 26 Rajya Sabha elections, while most candidates are expected be elected unopposed, there could be a contest for at least three seats — one each in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand — and political parties have begun assessing the situation and cobbling up numbers.
Of the 55 seats scheduled to go to polls, the BJP, currently has 15 seats, and expects definite wins in 13.
The party has the required number of legislators to win one from Himachal Pradesh, one of the two seats in Haryana, one of the three seats in Rajasthan, one of the five seats in Bihar, three of the seven seats in Maharashtra, one of the three seats in Madhya Pradesh, two of the four seats in Gujarat, three seats in Assam, and one each from Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
The party is also expected to add one more seat with the vacant seat for a nominated member.
However, party leaders said the BJP is eying 17-18 seats. Its leadership has already begun negotiations for winning at least two of the three seats where there will be a contest.
They pointed towards recent developments in Madhya Pradesh, where voices of difference have surfaced among the senior leaders of the ruling Congress, hinting at a prospective rebellion against Chief Minister Kamal Nath. The differences have been linked to the Rajya Sabha elections.
The BJP, sources said, could take advantage of the disenchantment among the senior Congress leaders against the Chief Minister. A BJP leader said, “The BJP is sure of winning one seat in Madhya Pradesh, but we have not given up on a second seat too.”
In Odisha, the ruling BJD, which has 113 MLAs in the 147-member Assembly, can elect three members to the Rajya Sabha. As one candidate requires 30 first-preference votes to win the election, the BJP, which has 23 members in the Assembly, hopes that the BJD offers it the required support to elect one of its candidates.
For the BJP, strengthening its position in the Upper House is crucial as it has had to rely on the support of smaller parties to get key bills passed in the Rajya Sabha, where it never enjoyed majority since it came into power in 2014. The party-led NDA currently has 97 MPs against a sanctioned strength of 245 (233 elected and 12 nominated).
Meanwhile, the TMC and YSRCP are expected to win four seats in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh respectively. In West Bengal, the Congress is willing to support the CPI(M) if the latter wants to send its general secretary Sitaram Yechury to the Upper House.
However, the CPI(M) is yet to clarify its stance over Yechury’s candidature.
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