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NDA inches towards Rajya Sabha majority with regional parties’ help

LiveMint logoLiveMint 30-07-2017 PTI

New Delhi: With the Janata Dal (United) allying with the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) numbers with the support of friendly regional parties are now very close to a majority in the Rajya Sabha, giving a boost to the government’s legislative agenda.

A counting of the strength of different parties besides independent and nominated members suggest that the Modi dispensation can expect the support of at least 121 seats in the 245-member House.

Shrewd political management by its floor managers can help it successfully stave off the challenge posed by the Congress-led opposition, which has often been successful in blocking its bills in the Upper House.

The Nitish Kumar-led party has 10 members in the Upper House, a significant addition to the treasury benches which have so far remained in a minority. The JDU’s support boosts the NDA’s number to 89 in the 245-member House. Some members of the party have spoken against Kumar’s decision to join hands with the BJP but it is not clear if they will defy its stand in Parliament.

With the BJP set for a win in the bypoll in Madhya Pradesh, where a vacancy was caused by Anil Madhav Dave’s death, and pulling out all stops to snatch one seat from the Congress in Gujarat, its tally could go to 91 during the ongoing Parliament’s session.

Regional parties like the AIADMK, the Biju Janata Dal, theTelangana Rashtra Samithi, the YSRCP and the Indian National Lok Dal, which together have 26 members, have often backed the government, which can also count on at least four of the eight nominated members for support. It all adds up to 121, very close to the majority mark of 123.

It may get a big boost during the monsoon session if the BJP wins eight of the nine seats in Uttar Pradesh. It has now only one member among them. However, the NDA will face some reverses in Bihar which will see elections for six seats in March-April next year. The JDU and the BJP have currently four and two seats respectively. The RJD-Congress combine can win up to three seats.

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