Why bringing Constitutional amendments will now be easier for NDA

The BJP had 303 members of its own in the Lok Sabha election in 2019, with the NDA at 353. It also has a lot of ‘friendly’ parties like BJD and TRS that have traditionally helped the NDA in Parliament to pass legislations when needed.
Narendra Modi Amit Shah

New Delhi, Aug 26 : Away from the spotlight, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is slowly inching towards its goal – a two-thirds majority in the Rajya Sabha while ‘present and voting, as required for any Constitutional amendments.

With the bye-election in Uttar Pradesh next month and the one scheduled to take place in November, the NDA hopes to bolster its arithmetic towards that long-term goal.

The Election Commission has already issued the notification for the Rajya Sabha bypoll in Uttar Pradesh after Amar Singh recently died in Singapore battling kidney disease. That Samajwadi Party seat is likely to go to the ruling BJP with changed political numbers in the UP Assembly.

Moreover, there are 10 more seats that will be up for grabs in the state as the tenures of 10 members of the upper house elected from Uttar Pradesh are set to expire by November 25.

The BJP has 305 members in the 17th Assembly of Uttar Pradesh, according to a document on its website. When the 10 seats go for polls, predictably in November, the BJP is sure to get 8 members of its wish elected, on its own strength.

Om Prakash Rajbhar-led Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP), which fought alongside BJP in the 2017 election, had bagged 4 seats. But later it parted ways with the BJP. However, the BJP still has another existing ally – Apna Dal (Sonelal) – which got 9 seats. These 9 seats may help BJP aim for the ninth seat as well, in the November election for the upper house.

As of today, the saffron party has 86 members in the Rajya Sabha. With other NDA constituents like LJP, SAD among others, the NDA numbers stand at 113. If all goes well, the BJP is certain of taking the NDA number to 122 or even 123. The ‘holy grail’ of the two-thirds mark in the Rajya Sabha stands at 164. Meanwhile, the majority remains at an achievable 123.

The BJP won 11 of the 24 seats in the not-so-long-ago Rajya Sabha polls in 10 states, in which the likes of Jyotiraditya Scindia won.

The reason a two-thirds majority is a ‘holy grail’ for any ruling alliance is because of Constitutional amendments.

“Every government has its vision and Constitutional amendments are required for that or even due to court orders. But for that to happen it should have a majority in both houses as well as be passed by each house of Parliament by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of the House ‘present and voting’,” explained P.D.T. Achary, a former top official in the Parliament of India.

That makes the NDA’s job a tad easier than attaining a strict two-thirds majority in the upper house.

The BJP had 303 members of its own in the Lok Sabha election in 2019, with the NDA at 353. It also has a lot of ‘friendly’ parties like BJD and TRS that have traditionally helped the NDA in Parliament to pass legislations when needed.

By Anindya Banerjee

(Anindya Banerjee can be contacted at [email protected])

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