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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

BJP wins 9 of 11 Rajya Sabha seats; Congress strength set to dip below 40

The BJP on its own is still 31 short of the halfway mark of 123 in the Upper House, but with allies JD(U), which has five members, and Ramdas Athawale of the Republican Party of India, the NDA tally stands at 98.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: November 3, 2020 9:12:26 am
Newly-elected BJP Rajya Sabha MPs in Lucknow. (Express Photo)

With the BJP winning nine of the 11 Rajya Sabha seats on Monday, the ruling party’s strength in the Upper House has gone up to 92 while the main opposition Congress’s is set to dip below 40, for the first time.

The BJP on its own is still 31 short of the halfway mark of 123 in the Upper House, but with allies JD(U), which has five members, and Ramdas Athawale of the Republican Party of India, the NDA tally stands at 98. Adding the AIADMK, which has nine MPs, and some parties from the Northeast, the NDA tally easily crosses 110.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Monday announced a bypoll to the lone vacant seat in Karnataka on December 1, necessitated by the death of BJP MP Ashok Gasti. The BJP, which is in power in Karnataka, will win the seat which will take the party’s tally to 93 before the Winter Session.

Also Read| UP Rajya Sabha polls: Nomination rejected, lawyer alleges criminal conspiracy, asks EC to hold results

When it comes to crucial Bills, the NDA has also relied on the support of regional parties like Biju Janata Dal, which has nine MPs, and YSR Congress Party (six members) in the past. Barring a few occasions, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi with seven members too had backed the government in crunch situations. Together, these three parties have 22 MPs.

Two seats are vacant in Bihar, including one due to the demise of LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan.

The NDA had suffered a setback with the exit of Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena, which have three MPs each in the Upper House.

The BJP strength went up to 92 after nine of its candidates – eight in UP and one in Uttarakhand – were elected unopposed on Monday. In UP, one candidate each of the Samajwadi Party and BSP were elected unopposed.

Among those elected unopposed from UP include Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri and SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav.

Eleven members — 10 from Uttar Pradesh and one from Uttarakhand — are retiring on November 25, including Congress members P L Punia and Raj Babbar. Consequently, the Congress’s tally will come down to 38 from 40.

Besides Puri, those elected unopposed in UP are BJP’s Neeraj Shekhar, Arun Singh, Geeta Shakya, Haridwar Dubey, Brijlal, B L Varma and Seema Dwivedi; Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav; and BSP’s Ramji Gautam.

In Uttarakhand, senior BJP leader Naresh Bansal was declared elected unopposed.

Varanasi lawyer told to approach Allahabad HC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked Varanasi-based lawyer Prakash Bajaj, who questioned the rejection of his SP-backed nomination for the Rajya Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh alleging a conspiracy by the returning officer to favour the BSP, to approach the Allahabad High Court for redressal of his grievance. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde allowed him to withdraw his plea. —ENS

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