Shah adds to BJP's political heft, but not numbers in RS

Consumer Infoline News Desk / On 09 August, 2017

The victory of BJP President Amit Shah, who makes his debut in Parliament, and Smriti Irani's re-election from Gujarat give the party political heft in the Rajya Sabha but do not add to its numbers.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had already become the single largest group in the Upper House after Vinay Tendulkar won the biennial election from Goa, defeating the Congress' Shantaram Naik.

Tribal leader Sampatiya Uikey, elected last month in a by-election from Madhya Pradesh, only replaced her own party's Anil Dave, a Union Minister, who passed away in May.

In a house of 245 members, the BJP now has 58 -- one more than the 57 of the Congress at No.2 position.

The election of Sonia Gandhi's political aide Ahmed Patel in a cliffhanger of a contest in Gujarat helped the party and Patel retain the seat and gives no addition to its numbers.

For the BJP, Irani retains her seat while Shah would take the place of party member Dilipbhai Pandya who retires on August 18.

Similarly in West Bengal where biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha were held, the Trinamool Congress retained five seats while its ally Congress retained one.

Among the five candidates the Trinamool replaced was D. Bandyopadhyay. Its new candidates Manas Bhuiyan and Shankar Chhetri won the elections, in which the TMC took away a CPI-M seat being vacated by Sitaram Yechury, whose party declined to renominate him.

The BJP may have gained in recent elections but the NDA coalition headed by it will still lag behind the opposition in the Rajya Sabha for some time to come. Along with allies, the NDA accounts for 101 members. This figure includes 13 of the AIADMK. To this can be added the new ally JD-U, which has 10 members in the Rajya Sabha.

There could be doubts over the loyalty of two members -- Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar Ansari, who have expressed reservations over their party chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's decision to go with the BJP.

Since the 2014 victory in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has a Prime Minister whose party has a majority on its own in the Lok Sabha for the first time in 30 years, besides the President and the Vice President of its choice.

But to have a majority in the Rajya Sabha, the party may have to wait for some more time.

On the opposition side, the Congress has 57 on its own. The others opposed to the government are 56 in number. Together the opposition accounts for 113 members.

Those not committed to either side account for 13. They include Biju Janata Dal (8), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (3), Indian National Lok Dal (1) and YSR Congress Party (1). There are six Independents, most of whom side with the government.

The Upper House has two vacancies, including the one caused by the resignation of BSP chief Mayawati.

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