On 23 March there are Elections for the 58 Rajya Sabha seats.

Author: Arvind Singh.

Apart from the state and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls will also be going to have an impact on India’s governance.

The Election commission (EC) has announced that the biennial elections to 58 Rajya Sabha (RS) seats from 16 States, falling vacant in April-May, and by-poll to one seat from Kerala will be held on March 23 of 2018.

BJP-led NDA will gain from these polls as it holds power in most states where there are elections, including UP, Bihar, MP, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.

Other than that, TMC-ruled WB, Congress-ruled Karnataka, TRS-ruled Telangana, BJD-ruled Odisha and TDP-ruled Andhra will elect RS-members.

Whereas the eight ministers, including the finance minister of India Arun Jaitley, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, will seek a new term in Rajya Sabha.

State legislatures elect RS members on a rolling basis, with 1/6th seats opening annually. The number of assembly seats accords proportional votes for a political party to win RS seat.

So, its RS presence is directly related to the number of states where it holds power. From 5 states in 2014, BJP now has 19 under its belt. This will ensure an improved RS presence.

During these polls, the 10 UP seats will be crucial.With 312 assembly seats, BJP will comfortably win eight seats.

SP, which had a substantial presence earlier, can win only one seat with 47 assembly seats.However, if SP, BSP, and Congress pool their surplus votes, they could win the 10th seat. This “united opposition” could set the stage for 2019 LS elections.

In August’17, BJP overtook Congress to become RS’s largest party with 58 members against the latter’s 57.

Now, it might increase its tally to 86 in the 245-member house; the half-way mark is 123.

Moreover, earlier Congress used its large RS presence to block legislation like a triple-talaq bill, land acquisition etc.

Thus, a strengthened RS position is crucial for PM Modi to push reforms.

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