Home / Politics / Policy /  Election verdict to help BJP raise Rajya Sabha tally

New Delhi: For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), there is more to winning Maharashtra and Haryana elections than controlling two key states.

The victory promises to help the party raise its tally in the Rajya Sabha, or the council of states, where its minority status is a hindrance to its reforms agenda. The victory also boosts morale for the party as it seeks to pocket more states. If everything goes according to plan, the party could install its choice as President in 2017, when elections to the top constitutional post are held.

Currently, the BJP is the second-largest constituent of the 245-member Rajya Sabha with 43 seats, after Congress which has 68.

However, a total of 86 Rajya Sabha seats fall vacant in the next two years, during which Bihar (with five Rajya Sabha seats), Jammu and Kashmir (four seats), Jharkhand (one seat), Kerala (six seats) and Tamil Nadu (six seats) go to the polls.

Making inroads into some of these states will help the BJP raise its Rajya Sabha numbers and clear the decks for legislation currently held up for lack of support there.

Out of this, the BJP could bag six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra and one from Haryana that fall vacant in July-August 2015.

Besides, there are seven other nominated seats in the Rajya Sabha which will be filled up over the next two years on recommendations by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

The Insurance Laws (Amendment Bill)—the very first economic reform Bill introduced by the NDA—got stalled in the absence of support in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill is now with the select committee of the Upper House.

Analysts see the BJP’s leverage in Parliament growing.

“This (the assembly election victories) will help the party in the long run. It will give them greater bargaining powers and better floor management of the House," Jai Mrug, a Mumbai-based political analyst said. “I think that as their Rajya Sabha seats increase, they would try to pass more ambitious legislation in the parliament."

Controlling more legislatures could come in handy at the next Presidential election as well.

The President is chosen by an electoral college, which includes elected members of Parliament and elected members of all state assemblies.

Victory in Maharashtra and Haryana will help the party increase its tally in the electoral college, where it will have greater representation from the state assemblies as well as Parliament.

“Winning more state elections has a domino effect as far as presidential elections are concerned because each MLA’s vote has its own value as well as an increase in Rajya Sabha members which carry their own weight in such an election," Mrug added.

All Bills passed by Parliament become law only after they receive the assent of the President.

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