2019: Rajya Sabha Equation

The 2017 Assembly Elections results are underway. And it’s a landslide 3/4ths majority for BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

BJP is also going to fare quite well in Manipur and reasonably well in Goa (although it may not form the Government).

Apart from potentially setting the tone for Lok Sabha 2019 elections, the other more important result of these elections are the way in which they will affect the numbers in the Rajya Sabha.

There is already enthusiastic talk amongst BJP supporters about targeting 350+ seats in LS 2019. However, any such overwhelming majority can only make a real impact if there is enough strength in the Rajya Sabha as well.

Important bills, especially Constitutional Amendments, require 2/3rds majority in both houses. The real wish of course is that NDA gets 2/3rds majority in Rajya Sabha soon so some important (read #core) changes can be brought in.

There are 250 seats in the Rajya Sabha, and a 2/3rds majority will require 167 seats.

As of March 2017, out of the 250 seats in the Rajya Sabha, NDA has a share of 90 seats. The parties I have counted to arrive at this number are BJP, half the number of Independents, INLD, PDP, JDU (will be in NDA by 2019 🙂 ), JMM, half of Nominated, SAD, ShivSena, RPI and TDP.

The retirement list of the Rajya Sabha from now i.e. March 2017 till June 2019 when the next Lok Sabha will just be in place looks as below.

Year Month Number of seats State Party NDA Gain? NDA Retain
2017 July 1 Goa Congress
August 4 WB TMC
1 WB Congress
2 Gujarat BJP 2
1 Gujarat Congress 1
2018 January 3 Delhi Congress
February 1 Sikkim SDF
April 6 UP SP 6
2 UP BSP 2
4 Bihar JDU 4
1 Haryana INC 1
1 Karnataka Independent 1
1 MP INC 1
2 Maharashtra NCP 2
2 Andhra INC 2
1 Maharashtra ShivSena 1
4 MP BJP 4
1 Andhra TDP 1
4 Gujarat BJP 4
1 Chattisgarh BJP 1
1 UP BJP 1
1 Karnataka Congress
1 Uttarakhand INC 1
1 HP BJP 1
2 Karnataka BJP 2
2 Maharashtra Congress 2
2 Bihar BJP 2
1 Telengana TDP
2 Telengana Congress
1 Maharashtra BJP 1
1 UP Congress 1
2 Rajasthan Congress 2
1 Odisha Independent
1 Odisha BJD
1 Rajasthan BJP 1
3 Nominated Independent 3
May 1 Jharkhand Congress 1
1 Jharkhand JMM
June 1 Nominated Independent 1
July 1 Kerala KC
1 Kerala Congress
1 Kerala CPIM
2019 June 2 Assam Congress
29 23

As you can see from above, I am assuming that given the states where BJP members will end their term, it is reasonably safe to assume BJP will get back those seats, which number 23.

Amongst the others, from the results of today’s assembly elections, an estimated 29 seats will be added to the NDA kitty. Here, I have taken all nominated and Independent members to side with the NDA going forward, which I feel is a reasonable assumption.

The NDA total in June 2019, is therefore likely to be around 119.

Some other factors to be considered:

  • Karnataka goes to elections in 2018. However till June 2019, there is only 1 non-NDA seat at stake.
  • None of the other states in the retirement list go to election *before* the 2019 LS elections. Telengana and Andhra will go to polls along with the Lok Sabha.

So, at the beginning of the new mandate, NDA will have only a simple majority in the Rajya Sabha.

  • AIADMK has 13 seats
  • BJP has 6 seats
  • TRS has 3 seats

Even if we assume these 3 parties will vote with the NDA on important bills, the total will come up to 141 seats and there will be a shortfall of nearly 26 seats.

In other words, no drastic changes can start right away in 2019.

  • 10 members from Uttar Pradesh will retire in November 2020
  • 5 non-NDA members will retire in April 2020
  • A small number of non-NDA seats will become available mid-2020 from Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

There may be some errors in the calculations above, but I don’t think it’s too far off the make.

Therefore, it is for certain that an NDA 2/3rds majority in the Rajya Sabha is not going to happen at least till middle of 2020. And this will be the earliest it will happen, if every thing goes according to NDA/BJP plans.


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