BJP soon to be largest party in Rajya Sabha too?
PM Modi has consistently thundered about wanting a "Congress-mukt Bharat." Though he is slowly inching towards this dream, in Parliament, he might soon be very close to this objective. This year, there will be a major rejig in RS. Following biennial elections and fresh presidential nominations, BJP will most likely take its tally to 67, making it the single-largest party in the 245-member RS.
What is the process of election to RS?
Representatives of states/UTs are elected to RS through indirect elections. States are allocated seats based on their population. Additionally, the president nominates 12 members from fields of arts, sports, science etc. These members usually declare their allegiance to the ruling party's whip.
What are the possibilities in the upcoming rejig?
Reportedly, by July, the opposition Congress will have 48 seats. Presently, it is tied with BJP at 57. BJP will gain from states it won recently: Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. Overall, ruling NDA will have 98 seats and Congress and its allies will reduce to 63. If presidential nominees pledge their allegiance, BJP can move up to 70.
How will BJP benefit?
BJP will benefit from by-elections/biennial polls in several states. Sikkim's lone member Hishey Lachungpa of the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) will complete his term. As SDF is NDA's part, it will retain the seat. BJP will probably win by-elections necessitated by Goa CM Manohar Parrikar's resignation and JD(U) rebel candidates Sharad Yadav's and Veerendra Kumar's disqualification after their disagreements with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.
What does it mean for the Congress?
Congress will save face due to its recent gains in Gujarat and its hold in Karnataka. But, Congress will lose three Delhi seats to debutante AAP. After UP polls' debacle, SP will probably lose 5 of its 18 seats. April will witness major alterations as 59 seats across 16 states go to polls. Considering BJP's hold in 19 states, they will sweep many seats.