RS POLLS … Congress loses heavily; BJP ups its strength to 92; NDA-Plus tally is now fine for stronger Modi push


NEW DELHI: In a steady ascendance in strength, the BJP raised its member tally in Rajya Sabha to 92 while its allies carry 18 MPs, making it to a total of 210 in a house of 249. The Congress size dwindled to 38 in the Upper House of Parliament. Nine of the 11 MPs elected to the Rajya Sabha on Monday belong to the BJP, in what was a near-total sweep.

The first five-year term of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government since 2014 has seen major legislations being frequently and feverishly shot down by the upper house of parliament, making the government’s functioning difficult. The Congress and its allies then enjoyed majority in the Rajya Sabha.

Now, the BJP-led NDA is in a position to see legislations through with ease, though they on their own do not have the majority. Several small parties can be depended on from outside the NDA framework, to see key legislations through.

Polls to 10 Rajya Sabha seats from UP will be held on November 9, and the BJP is set to win most of these seats too. A set of nominees have been elected unopposed from UP, raising the BJP strength to 92. This apart, BJP ally JDU has five members and Ramdas Athawale is single member of his party that is allied with the BJP in the NDA. Together, the NDA strength in RS is 98. Effectively, the Congress or the UPA cannot challenge the government in Rajya Sabha anymore in the near future. The wins from UP on November 9 will add to the NDA strength in the upper house.

The top-billed GST bill struggled in the Rajya Sabha for years during Modi’s first term, and the government could not implement the market reforms that aimed at unifying the entire market taxation mechanism across the country. Finally, the government took the unprecedented step of turning the legislation into a finance bill and got it through via the Lok Sabha, the lower house, to get presidential assent and status of a new law. Finance bills do not require clearance from the Rajya Sabha as per Indian Constitution.

The Congress leadership did not heed saner voices from within the party too that a key legislation – which was originally fashioned during the term of the Congress-led UPA government but could not be passed – must be allowed to pass.

Now, apart from the Congress, the Trinamool Congress has 13 members.

The All India Anna DMK (of Tamil Nadu) has nine members and the Biju Janata Dal (of Odisha) nine while other parties and independents number 63, many of them dependable for the BJP-NDA alliance though they are not a part. Among the Independents, 12 are nominees of the President from various fields like art, literature, entertainment etc.

The nation will now eagerly look up as to what the Modi government in its second term will do, hereafter, with this hard-earned majority in both houses of Parliament. Many strong steps are expected to follow by way of new legislation that will have a lasting impact on the national life. 

A stronger Hindutva push also might be on the cards; meaning fresh social upheavals too. For instance, bills to raise marriage age and introduce two-child norm to check growth of population; both of which will set Muslims against the government. IHN-NN


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