Home >Politics >News >Balance of power in Rajya Sabha slowly shifting in favour of NDA

NEW DELHI : The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is inching towards the halfway mark in the 245-member Rajya Sabha with polling for 24 seats scheduled later this month. The collective strength of the Opposition in the Upper House has often posed a challenge to the government’s legislative agenda.

The ruling alliance is likely to win half these seats, gaining in at least four, while the Opposition may do well in Jharkhand and Rajasthan, where the Congress-led alliance had performed well in the last assembly elections.

Election Commission (EC) on Monday announced elections to 18 Rajya Sabha seats, which were part of the 55 announced earlier this year, and require a contest to fill. Besides, polls will be conducted to six more RS seats, including four from Karnataka that fell vacant in April. This will be the first such exercise since the coronavirus outbreak, and could set in motion more political activity.

“Any increase in the number of MPs in Rajya Sabha is a reflection of the people’s support to the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi . The performance of the Union government and BJP-led states have helped us win the majority of legislative assemblies, which helps win Rajya Sabha elections," said a senior BJP leader from Rajya Sabha, requesting anonymity.

With the NDA having over 90 members in the Rajya Sabha, including 75 BJP MPs, a gain of four more MPs will consolidate the alliance’s position in the Upper House.

However, despite being the largest alliance in RS, the NDA often has to depend on like-minded non-NDA parties such as the Biju Janata Dal (9), Telangana Rashtra Samiti (7) and YSR Congress Party (2), which extend issued-based support, to get critical legislation passed. The Centre also has the support of nine MPs of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

“The increase in the number is a boost for both BJP and NDA because the Union government has suffered delays and disruption during the passage of Bills in Rajya Sabha. This can only be overcome when the NDA has a majority in the Upper House," said the BJP leader cited above.

Senior Congress leaders said while the Upper House election reflects the strength of state assemblies, they are hopeful that the Opposition will gradually improve its position. “It is a fact that Congress is not in power in many states and so we have naturally seen reduced numbers in Rajya Sabha over the last few years. But our position is improving as we have won in Rajasthan, and our allies in other states are also gaining in strength," a senior Rajya Sabha MP of the Congress said, requesting anonymity.

While the Opposition is confident of improving its numbers, the real challenge for them is to overcome the lack of floor coordination, visible during the last session, to take on the treasury benches. In fact, most crucial Bills, despite criticism, were passed because of a divided Opposition, as they did not have a common strategy to take on the NDA-led Centre.

Acknowledging the dominance of Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha, vice president M. Venkaiah Naidu, who is also chairman, Rajya Sabha, recently said Opposition parties have had the upper hand for 39 of the 68 years in the Rajya Sabha. While Naidu categorically said the dominance of the Opposition had not hampered passage of Bills, he added that it was also true that the two sides have often faced political tussles in the Rajya Sabha. Naidu was speaking on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of the first sitting of Rajya Sabha on 13 May.


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