BJP to get 5 more elders next session

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Daily News & Analysis, May 13, 2016

The BJP is hoping to gain marginally in the Upper House by the monsoon session, but this is unlikely to end its numerical deficit woes. After the next round of biennial polls in June, the party is expected to get an additional five seats, as it gains eight and loses three.

However, the BJP would still be running short of the numbers, a hurdle which has come in the way of passage of legislations, including crucial ones like the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Upper House.

The Election Commission announced on Thursday that biennial elections to 57 Rajya Sabha seats would be held on June 11. Of these, 14 each belong to BJP and Congress, six BSP, five JD(U) and three each from SP, BJD and AIADMK.

While the BJP would gain three each from Rajasthan and Maharashtra, and one each from Gujarat and Jharkhand, it was set to lose one each from Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Party sources said the tally would go up further with around eight nominated members.

At present, the BJP has 49 members and the Congress has 64 in the 245-member House. Along with allies– three each of Shiv Sena and Akali Dal– the ruling NDA has just 55. Though the Congress is expected to lose some seats, the Opposition is likely to continue to have an edge. Among the Congress’s allies, the JD-U has 13 members, the NCP six. Among the other parties, the SP has 15, TMC 12 and BSP 10. Despite its 282-strong majority in Lok Sabha, the NDA has faced Opposition resistance in passage of bills in Rajya Sabha.

With 55 members retiring from 15 states by the next session, the Upper House will witness over 50 farewell speeches on Friday, the last day of the budget session. The seats vacated include that of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, an independent member who resigned this month.

Among those retiring are six union ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Birendra Singh, Suresh Prabhu, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Besides, Congress’s AK Antony and Oscar Fernandes, are also set to retire while party leader Anand Sharma has vacated his Rajasthan seat. The term of lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who was brought on a BJP ticket, is also ending.

The maximum number of 11 members are retiring from UP followed by six each from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, according to the EC.

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