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Why UP's numbers are so important for Modi in the Rajya Sabha

By Archis Mohan
February 13, 2017 12:31 IST
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A defeat in UP will, therefore, dent the Modi government's efforts to win more seats in the Rajya Sabha.
Archis Mohan reports.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rajya Sabha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told a public rally in Aligarh on February 5 that winning the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls was important to help his party get a majority in the Rajya Sabha.

The BJP's rivals, he said, have come together in Uttar Pradesh not just to win the assembly polls, but to frustrate his party's efforts to get a majority in the Rajya Sabha.

'They are scared. They know if Modi gets a majority in the Rajya Sabha he will push for laws that will leave no room for the corrupt,' the PM said.

Currently, the Bharatiya Janata Party, as well as the National Democratic Alliance it leads, is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha.

The lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha has meant some of the Modi government's key Bills have either had to be withdrawn or amended to get the Opposition on board, or tabled as 'money Bills'.

Currently, the BJP has 56 seats to the Congress' 60 seats in the Rajya Sabha.

The NDA has a total of 74 members.

The BJP hopes to increase its tally in the Rajya Sabha at the time of its biennial elections in 2018.

Once in two years, at least a third of the Rajya Sabha's 245 members retire.

In 2018, nearly 70 would retire and a significant 10 will retire from UP.

A defeat in UP will, therefore, dent the Modi government's efforts to win more seats in the Rajya Sabha.

2017: 10 MPs to retire (6 from Bengal including Sitaram Yechury and Derek O’Brien); 3 from Gujarat (including Smriti Irani and Ahmed Patel) and Shantaram Naik from Goa).

2018: 67 MPs to retire (including 10 from UP, 6 from Bihar, 5 from Bengal, 4 from Karnataka, 6 from Maharashtra, 3 from Andhra Pradesh, etc).

Current Rajya Sabha strength: 244

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Archis Mohan
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