Four TDP MPs join BJP fold, NDA is now just 18 short of majority in Rajya Sabhahttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/with-four-tdp-mps-in-bjps-fold-nda-eyes-majority-in-rajya-sabha-5791229/

Four TDP MPs join BJP fold, NDA is now just 18 short of majority in Rajya Sabha

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) currently holds 106 seats (including the four TDP MPs)—18 short of a majority in the 245-member House.

BJP working president J P Nadda with TDP MPs at a press conference in New Delhi

With four Rajya Sabha TDP MPs joining the BJP Thursday, the saffron party will be looking to make a renewed push to ratify several contentious bills stuck in the upper House.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) currently holds 106 seats (including the four TDP MPs)— 18 short of a majority in the 245-member House. Meanwhile, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has 66 seats. And parties not aligned with either of the NDA or UPA have 66 seats. There are currently nine vacant seats in the Rajya Sabha.

Since Rajya Sabha MPs are elected by state assembly legislators, the BJP is set to win all 10 seats from Uttar Pradesh that will fall vacant in November this year. The BJP has 309 members in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, followed by 48 of SP, 19 of BSP and seven of Congress.

By the end of next year, Rajya Sabha elections in other states including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Rajasthan, and Punjab will be held which may offer a different picture.

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On Thursday, Telugu Desam Party MPs submitted a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu seeking to merge with the BJP.

In order to merge with another party, the anti-defection law requires the support of at least two-third members for a split to be recognised in Parliament. With four of its six MPs switching over, the TDP is reduced to just two seats in the upper House.

BJP looking to pass controversial bills

In the 16th Lok Sabha, many of the bills introduced by the BJP faced hurdles in the upper House due to lack of majority. Contentious bills like the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2018, and the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 are likely to pass uncontested this time if the BJP manages to whip up enough votes. Both bills were stalled in the Rajya Sabha last year where the NDA currently does not enjoy a majority.

All the bills that were passed by the Lok Sabha but not by the Rajya Sabha in the previous Parliament- — including the Triple Talaq bill and the Citizenship Amendment Bill — have lapsed and require to be introduced fresh in the 17th Lok Sabha.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill or the Triple Talaw Bill seeks to make triple talaq a criminal offence, with a jail term of up to three years for the husband.

Other key bills that were lapsed include The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018.