BJP tally in Rajya Sabha likely to go up by 1 next year
New Delhi, May 03: Ruling BJP is likely to see its tally in the Rajya Sabha inching up by 1 seat to 96 next year as its good showing in the West Bengal assembly elections will not immediately translate into more MPs as no seats are up for election in the state soon, a report said on Monday.
The BJP currently has 95 MPs in the Upper House, whose current strength is 240, according to Rajya Sabha website.
As many as 78 MPs will be completing their term in 2022. Prominent among them are Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and senior Congress leaders P Chidambaram, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal.
"Our analysis suggests that BJP may not gain materially in the next round of Rajya Sabha elections (due in 2022), as it is likely to lose seats from Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, despite gaining in Uttar Pradesh; no seats from West Bengal are up for election," brokerage Kotak Institutional Equities said in its India Report.
The current set of state assembly elections, occurring against the backdrop of a second wave of Covid-19, saw incumbents beating challengers in three of the four states. TMC retained its two-thirds majority in West Bengal by winning 213 out of 292 contested seats, while the BJP improved its tally to 77 from 3 MLAs.
DMK and its alliance (with Congress) wrested back Tamil Nadu from AIADMK (and BJP) by winning 155 out of 234 seats. LDF was able to score a comfortable win against the Congress-led UDF in Kerala by winning 97 out of 140 seats, while the BJP retained power in Assam, winning 74 out of 126 seats.
"As such, BJP may have 96 seats in Rajya Sabha after the 2022 biennial elections to the Upper House," it said. "We note that state assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh are slated for February-March 2022 before the next round of Rajya Sabha elections."
It saw Congress improving its tally from 35 to 38 and its ally DMK going up from 7 MPs to 9 MPs. BJP's ally AIADMK may see its tally falling by 3 MPs to 5.
"It would be interesting to see the BJP's response to its disappointing (versus expectations) performance in West Bengal state elections, where it had devoted considerable resources and time," Kotak said.
A number of important state elections are due over the next 12 months, especially in two of BJP's 'bastion' states - Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
"The market will likely wonder if the BJP/government would follow populist, reformist or a combination of populist and reformist measures to 'regain' its popularity; the BJP has lost several state elections since late 2019 even though it won the 2019 general elections handsomely," it said.
The government, it said, has made significant progress on economic reforms over the past few years and is expected to stay the course on the same. "In our view, that may be the best way to offset the negative impact of the ongoing pandemic on the economy and household incomes."
More than 3 lakh new coronavirus infection cases were reported for the 12th straight day on Monday, taking India's overall caseload to just shy of 2 crore. Deaths from Covid-19 rose by 3,417 to 218,959.
"We hope that stable daily confirmed cases in Maharashtra, the worst-affected state in the second wave, declining daily confirmed cases in some of the worst-affected districts of Maharashtra and rising recovered cases in several other states over the past few days are early indicators of eventual respite from the current grim news of rising confirmed cases, active cases and deaths," the brokerage said.
Overall numbers will rise for some more time given high and rising positivity rates across states and increased testing, it said, expecting more states to extend extant lockdowns and implement partial lockdowns over the next few days/weeks to counter the rapid spread of the virus.
It said the impact of the second wave of infections on the economy will be clearer over the next 1-2 months depending on the duration and nature of lockdowns.