As BJP's losses mount, regional parties to get RS boost

Regional parties to add muscle in Rajya Sabha as BJP's losses in Assembly polls set to take a toll

BJP has 82 members and is the single largest party in the 245-member Rajya Sabha, with Congress a distant second with 46 seats.

The recent victories posted by the opposition in state elections will not allow BJP a free run in the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled to be held next month.

As many as 55 members of the upper house are retiring in April and regional parties appear to have an upper hand. Among the retiring members 14 belong to the BJP, 11 to the Congress, four each to the AIADMK and Trinamool, and three to the JD(U).

BJP has 82 members and is the single largest party in the 245-member Rajya Sabha, with Congress a distant second with 46 seats.

The most vacancies are from Maharashtra (7), followed by Tamil Nadu (6), West Bengal & Bihar (5 each), Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat (4 each), Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan (3 each), Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Telangana (2 each) and one seat each in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Assam. There are two vacant seats in Assam and one each in Odisha and Haryana.

With the loss of governments in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, the BJP is set to lose the seats in held in these states. However, it is set to offset the losses in Himachal and Assam.

After its poor showing in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana assembly polls, Congress is expected to lose representation in the respective states. It has two representatives from Andhra and one from Telangana.

In Andhra Pradesh, YSR Congress is expected to win all the four seats, while TRS is expected to pocket the two seats in Telangana.

In West Bengal of the five seats on which elections are scheduled to be held, Trinamool is sure of winning four and CPI(M) can hope to bag the other seat if supported by the Congress.

Of the six vacancies in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK is certain of sending three members in place of the retiring four, while DMK can look to claim the remaining three with support from the Congress.

An interesting battle is on the cards in Maharashtra, where seven seats are falling vacant. BJP can be sure of sending two nominees – one of which has been assured to RPI leader and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale.

With the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress forming the government in Maharashtra, each would be eying a larger share of the remaining five seats. Two NCP leaders – Sharad Pawar and Majeed Memon, one each of Shiv Sena, Congress and Independent – are demiting office.

Congress is learnt to have staked claim for an additional seat, which could have gone to an Independent candidate.

In Bihar, of the five seats falling vacant, three are held by the JD(U) and two by the BJP. Both the allies are expected to lose one seat each to the opposition RJD, Congress, RLSP and HAM due to their better numbers.