Press Trust of india

BJP hopeful of working majority in RS following polls

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New Delhi, Feb 25 : The BJP is hopeful of a “working majority” in the Rajya Sabha following the biennial polls to 58 seats from 16 states next month as the ruling NDA’s numbers are expected to go up significantly at the cost of opposition parties.

The saffron party will make handsome gains from Uttar Pradesh, where its massive majority in the assembly will fetch it at least eight out of 10 seats going to the polls against only one seat it has as of now.

Party leaders said it will also bag all three Rajasthan seats against the one it has and the party and its ally Shiv Sena will also bag four of the six seats in Maharasthra against the two they have.

Though NDA numbers are expected to fall from states like Bihar, where it holds all six seats going to the poll and is sure of winning only three, and Gujarat, where it is unlikely to retain more than two of the four seats; its overall gains will be significant.

BJP leaders said if the total NDA members following the polls are added to tallies of friendly parties like AIADMK, TRS, BJD and YSR, then they will have a majority in the 245-member House.

Though not part of treasury benches, these regional parties have often refrained from joining strident opposition parties like the Congress, TMC, the Left and Samajwadi Party in blocking the government’s agenda, especially its bills.

“We believe we will have a working majority in the Rajya Sabha following these polls,” a senior BJP leader said.

Though the saffron party is yet to decide on its nominees, sources said some of its national office-bearers may make their maiden entry into the House.

Among its eight general secretaries, most powerful set of office bearers, none of them, except Bhupender Yadav, is an MP.

Sources said the party may pick some of them and also consider new faces from the ranks of its spokespersons.

General secretaries like Anil Jain, Arun Singh, Kailash Vijayvargiya, P Muralidhar Rao and Ram Madhav are being seen among the contenders.

The BJP has already surpassed the Congress to become the largest party in the Rajya Sabha with 58 seats against the latter’s 54 as the gap is set to widen further after the biennial polls.

Terms of several Union ministers, including Arun Jaitley, Prakash Javadekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dharmendra Pradhan, J P Nadda, Thaawar Chand Gehlot and Ramdas Athawale are ending. The ruling alliance is expected to re-nominate them for a new term.

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