NEW DELHI: With four TDP and one INLD MP joining BJP and another four to be added to the ruling alliance by July 5, NDA is inching closer to majority in Rajya Sabha — a crucial mark that will help it overcome a bogey that dogged the Modi government’s legislative efforts in its last term. Though NDA’s strength as on Sunday stood at 111 in the House of 235 due to 10 vacancies, it will increase to 115 by July 5, just six short of the halfway mark in the House of 241. In case of a full strength of 245, the ruling alliance will need eight more members for a majority of 123 on its own. However, getting legislations passed in the Upper House in the current session may not be a problem for the government if the NDA gets the support of non-UPA parties like TRS, BJD and YSRCP. BJP managers are confident that the current gap in numbers will not hamper bills and there is now little possibility of the government facing situations where the opposition was able to amend official bills and force amendments in the President’s address as was the case between 2014-19. The passage of contentious bills like the one to ban triple talaq will still be challenging. BJP’s ally Janata Dal (U) with six MPs is not on board and parties like BJD and YSRCP have their reservations too. However, BJP leaders feel support of parties can still be negotiated and, aided by some absentions, even a difficult bill could make it. Out of the six vacancies to be filled by July 5, one from Bihar went to Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan. One out of three from Odisha went to BJP and the remaining two to BJD. The saffron party is set to bag two seats from Gujarat. Though a Gujarat Congress MLA moved the Supreme Court against the EC’s decision to hold two separate polls, the apex court last week declined to entertain his plea. The two seats from the state fell vacant after Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were elected to Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and Amethi, respectively. The Election Commission has said the polls are according to norms. Elections for the next batch of six vacancies from Tamil Nadu will be held on July 18. These seats will fall vacant on July 24. AIADMK holds four of these seats while one each is with DMK and CPI. With the current numbers in the assembly, AIADMK may lose one seat while DMK is expected to additional two (total three). Again, the Tamil Nadu RS elections will not alter the Upper House math, leaving the NDA more assured about having its way.
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