Congress’ wins, on its own or in alliance, may help it gain a few seats.

 

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was moving towards the majority mark in the Rajya Sabha, is unlikely to make any substantial gain in 2020 due to electoral reverses in Assembly elections in the last two years in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. On the contrary, the Congress may gain a few seats.

Elections for 75 Rajya Sabha seats will be held this year with 70 members set to retire, including 18 from the BJP and 17 from the Congress. Besides, there are five seats lying vacant, as per information available on the Rajya Sabha website.

The total strength of the Upper House is 245 and for a party or combination to get majority, it needs support of 123 members for passing a bill. As of now, though the ruling BJP with 83 members is the largest party in the Upper House, it is still away from the majority mark. The Congress’ number, on the other hand, has come down to 46.

BJP, which was moving towards the majority mark in the Rajya Sabha with many Opposition MPs joining the ruling party, will not be able to make gains as the party has lost quite a few Assembly elections in 2018 and 2019. The Congress, on the other hand, won a few states, either on its own or in alliance.

Sources, however, said that though the BJP does not have the majority till now, it has been able to clear several bills in the Upper House like the one for Article 370, triple talaq and Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), with support from alliance partners and other parties.

Some of the prominent leaders who are retiring this year include Union Ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Ramdas Athawale, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, BJP leader Vijay Goel and Congress leader Digvijay Singh. Lawyer K.T.S. Tulsi, who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the UPA government, and Deputy Speaker Harivansh will also retire during the year.

The maximum number of Rajya Sabha seats is getting vacant from Uttar Pradesh this year, followed by seven from Maharashtra, six from Tamil Nadu, five each from West Bengal and Bihar. Four seats each will be vacant from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Odisha, while elections for three seats each in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, two each in Telangana, Haryana, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh will be held this year.

However, it is Uttar Pradesh, where 10 seats are getting vacant, may turn out to be BJP’s advantage, as it is in power in that state. However, there is likely to be disappointment in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, where the BJP has lost power. While the Congress is in majority and ruling in Rajasthan and MP, it is sharing power with alliance partners in states like Jharkhand and Maharashtra.

Rajya Sabha elections will also be held for one Rajya Sabha seat each from Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.