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In this term, Narendra Modi govt will never have the numbers in Rajya Sabha

Currently, the Opposition has a combined strength of at least 132 in an effective House of 243 members.

Written by Pradeep Kaushal | New Delhi |
Updated: February 3, 2015 9:21:28 am
narendra modi, delhi elections 2015, delhi polls Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the crowd during an election campaign rally at Dwarka in New Delhi. (Source: PTI photo)

The day Delhi votes, the BJP will also have an eye on another election. That is the February 7 polls to the Rajya Sabha from Jammu & Kashmir, where the BJP may pick up two seats.

For the Narendra Modi government that has introduced six ordinances since the last Parliament session ended to get around the Opposition hurdle in the Rajya Sabha, every seat matters. However, that is one battle the BJP looks far from winning.

Between now and 2019, when the Modi government’s term ends, the NDA will just about cross the  100-seat mark in the House — and that’s in the best-case scenario. That will leave it well short of the halfway point in the Rajya Sabha, which has an optimum strength of 250.

The Congress may lose at least 20-odd seats by 2019 and its fellow travellers such as the JD(U), Left parties and others another half-a-dozen. But the Opposition is likely to still be neck-and-neck with the NDA in the House in May 2019, when the Modi government’s tenure ends.

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Currently, the Opposition has a combined strength of at least 132 in an effective House of 243 members — including 69 of the Congress, the Samajwadi Party’s 15, 12 of the Trinamool Congress, the JD(U)’s 12, the CPM’s 9, 6 of the NCP, the CPI’s 2, the National Conference’s 2, the RJD 1, the JD(S) 1, the JMM 1, Kerala Congress-M 1 and INLD 1.

Besides this the House has 12 nominated members who owe their berths to the Manmohan Singh government, who are more likely to side with the Opposition than the ruling coalition.

As against this, the BJP (45) and its allies — Shiv Sena (3), Akali Dal (3), TDP (6), RPI-Athawale (1), All-India N Rangasamy Congress (1) and Nagaland People’s Front (1) — add up to only 60 members.

As many as 42 MPs — belonging to the AIADMK (11), BSP (10), BJD (7), DMK (4), Independents and others (7), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (1), Sikkim Democratic Front (1) and Bodoland People’s Front (1) — can swing either way.

This year, only 10 slots are scheduled to fall vacant. Another seat from Maharashtra is vacant due to the death of Murli Deora of the Congress. A major churning will take place only in the middle of 2016, when 75 seats will be filled afresh. The year 2017 will be very lean again, with just 10 vacancies, to be followed by another big shuffle, of 68 seats, in 2018. Thereafter, it will be a lull till the present government completes its five-year term.

Taking best-case scenarios of the BJP getting a simple majority in Bihar, and doing well in the West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, the party can reach only around 70 by the end of its tenure.

If one considers the 11 members who will be nominated between now and May 2019, and add them to the government’s account, it takes its functional strength to just over 80.

Though none of the present allies of the BJP is expected to register any noteworthy gain during the entire term of the government, even if one were to add five to their present combined strength of 15, the NDA numbers would add up to around 100.

Even if the BJP were to fare better than these calculations, the NDA Rajya Sabha tally would only be a couple of seats higher than this — keeping it not just short of a majority but leaving the Opposition breathing down its neck at approximately 105 seats.

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