Can BJP increase its Rajya Sabha tally?
New Delhi, Mar 09: The elections to 55 Rajya Sabha seats on March 26 could see a tight contest between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition parties.
The contest is even closer in at least three seats, one each in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand.
The 245-member Upper House will vote between 9 am to 4 pm on March 26, while the counting of votes will be held on the same day at 5 pm.
Out of the 17 states, seven seats are from Maharashtra, four from Odisha, six from Tamil Nadu, five from West Bengal, four from Andhra Pradesh, two from Telangana, three from Assam, five from Bihar, two from Chattisgarh, four from Gujarat, two from Haryana, one from Himachal Pradesh, two from Jharkhand, three from Madhya Pradesh, one from Manipur, three from Rajasthan, and one from Meghalaya.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) registered a splendid victory with the saffron party getting majority, alone. However, in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP has only 82 members, which is short of the 120 required for a simple majority.
Of the 55 seats, 15 are held by the BJP. The party is likely to win back only 12 of the seats - it is sure to lose two in the Congress-ruled states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, and one in Bihar, where it is in power in a coalition government.
On the other hand, the Congress holds 11 of the seats but its tally will reduce to nine as two of its seats are in the BJP-ruled states of Himachal and Haryana.
Attaining 120- the magic number will be challenging and highly ambitious for the BJP. If not, the party definitely wants to better its tally from the current 82.
Its string of losses in states despite the massive victory in the April-May Lok Sabha elections will be a worry for the saffron party, which banked on 'Congress-mukt Bharat'.
Since 2018, the BJP has lost crucial states Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand
The percentage of the population being governed by the BJP in the states, either on its own or with its allies, now stands at around 43 per cent from over 69 per cent two years back.
Interestingly, there will be no Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The BJP will have to wait till the end of 2020 to take advantage of its earlier electoral performance in those states, to add to the tally.
As the elections to Rajya Sabha seats is determined by the state MLAs, this may spell doom for the BJP.
The saffron party is banking on dissenting MLAs in Madhya Pradesh, where the ruling Congress claim to have prevented operation lotus, ahead of the crucial polls.
Similarly, the saffron party is looking to wrest two other seats in Maharashtra and Jharkhand by encashing on possible disenchantment among the ruling coalition's MLAs.