Modi juggernaut may hit RS wall; NDA way short of majority

New Delhi: The massive victory in the Lok Sabha elections notwithstanding, the National Democratic Alliance will need support of opposition parties to get bills passed in the Rajya Sabha, as the alliance is woefully short of the majority in the upper house.

The NDA, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, has only 62 seats in the 240-member upper house. Five seats in Rajya Sabha are currently vacant.

Even assuming support of the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Biju Janata Dal, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, all the independents and nominated members, and the two smaller parties from the northeast, the NDA will still be 19 short of the half-way mark.

The Congress-led United Progress Alliance has 79 members in Rajya Sabha, while the Left, Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal (United) have another 29. The Bahujan Samaj Party with 14 members and the Trinamool Congress with 12 make up the rest of the Rajya Sabha.

This means the NDA will need the support of opposition parties for smooth passage of bills. One way of getting around this problem could be to call a joint session of Parliament. According to the Constitution, if a bill passed by the Lok Sabha is rejected by the Rajya Sabha, the President can call a joint sitting of the two Houses to resolve the deadlock.

The NDA with 336 members in the 543-member Lok Sabha has a majority in the joint house. However, the joint session cannot be called to pass a Constitution amendment bill.

The government will not have a problem in passing money bills or the Budget as the upper house does not have the power to make amendments in such bills passed by the Lok Sabha. At best, it can only recommend to Lok Sabha amendments to money bill, which the lower house can accept or reject.

If the Lok Sabha rejects the amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha, then the money bill is deemed to have been passed. Following is the current party position in Rajya Sabha:

NDA62

BJP   46
Telugu Desam   6
Shiv Sena  3
Shiromani Akali Dal3
Lok Janshakti Party1
Naga People’s Front1
Republican Party of India (A)  1
Mizo National Front1
.
UPA79

Congress  68
Nationalist Congress Party 6
J&K National Conference2
Rashtriya Janata Dal   1
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 1
Kerala Congress (M)1

Others 99
BSP   14
Trinamool Congress12
AIADMK10
Nominated 10
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 9
Samajwadi Party9
Independent9
Janata Dal (United)9
Biju Janata Dal6
DMK4
Indian National Lok Dal2
CPI2
Telangana Rashtra Samithi  1
Sikkim Democratic Front1
Bodo People’s Front1

Current strength  240
Vacant  5
Total 245

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