Opposition in RS weakened further as yet another Congress leader joins BJP

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 22, 2019 Published on October 22, 2019

Beefed up The BJP’s number goes up to over 130, well past the simple majority in the Rajya Sabha   -  PTI

KC Ramamurthy, a senior leader from Karnataka, latest to desert the party

Senior Congress leader from Karnataka KC Ramamurthy weakened the Opposition strength in the Rajya Sabha further by joining the ruling BJP on Tuesday.

Although the BJP and its alliance partners are still 20 short of majority in the Upper House, the ruling coalition is in a much stronger position, partly owing to a spate of desertions from the Opposition and largely because ostensibly neutral parties end up supporting them on crucial issues.

Friendly parties

The NDA’s official strength in the 245-member Rajya Sabha is about 102, about 20 MPs short of simple majority.

However, with increasing help from parties such as AIADMK which has 11 MPs, YSRCP with 2 MPs, TRS with 6 MPs and BJD with 7 MPs as also 6 Independents, the ruling coalition is often able to muster up numbers to pass crucial Bills in the Upper House.

Along with these friendly parties, the BJP’s number goes up to over 130, well past the simple majority in the Rajya Sabha.

However, there is still time, at least until the end of next year, when the ruling NDA can hope to officially have majority in the Rajya Sabha.

Inflow from other parties

But for constantly chipping away at the Opposition numbers, which together total up to 104, just a fraction above the NDA, the BJP has adopted a strategy of weaning away the Opposition MPs.

For the purpose, ruling party general secretaries Bhupendra Yadav and Arun Singh rolled down the red carpet on Tuesday to former Congress Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka KC Ramamurthy.

Ramamurthy had resigned as a member of the Rajya Sabha on October 16. His resignation was accepted by House Chairman M Venkaiah Nadu, they said.

In the recent past, Bhubneshwar Kalita and Sanjay Singh, both from the Congress, had resigned from the Upper House.

Neeraj Shekhar, Surendra Singh Nagar and Sanjay Seth had recently quit the Samajwadi Party and given up their Rajya Sabha membership to join the BJP.

They were later re-elected to the Upper House on a BJP ticket, boosting the strength of the ruling party in the Rajya Sabha where it lacks majority.

In June this year, four Telugu Desam Party members from Rajya Sabha had joined the BJP.

Published on October 22, 2019
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