While passing legislation in the Lower House will not be any issue for the BJP, passing a bill in the Rajya Sabha could prove to be a hard nut to crack for the saffron party. The BJP bagged a colossal 283 out 543 seats in the Parliament and along with its allies, the NDA’s number reached a magnificent 336.

The BJP would not be able to improve its tally of 46 MPs in the 245-member Rajya Sabha (which could be extended till 250) before 2016 when one third of the Upper House MPs would be elected in the biennial elections in the House.

Even with the support of its allies, the BJP could at maximum manage 65 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, which is well short of the half way mark of 123. The Congress has 68 MPs in the Upper House.

This clearly implies that the BJP would not find it a cake walk to pass any important legislation in the Parliament and would have to find alternate ways to cross this stumbling block.

One way is to try and appease regional forces that have emerged strongly post the general elections but were locked in fierce verbal spat with Modi and the BJP during the election campaign.

Modi and the BJP have both repeatedly vowed to take all the parties together on the path of development.

Experts believe such tom-tomming by the BJP to non-NDA regional players, including Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK, is a well-planned ploy to unravel their number conundrum in the Upper House.

Spinning her magic in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa led the AIADMK to a resounding 37 out of 39 Lok Sabha seats with the remaining two going in the NDA fold.

Jayalalithaa, who also harbours prime ministerial aspirations, had congratulated Modi for his impressive victory in the general elections and the PM-designate returned the favour by promising her state full cooperation from the Centre.

Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, which won 34 out of 42 seats in West Bengal, is also another option. However, bearing in mind the bitter verbal volleys both Mamata and Modi fired at each other during the election campaign, such a scenario looks implausible.

The Janata Dal (United), Samajwadi Party and the CPI (M) all have nine members each in the Rajya Sabha but it is highly unlikely any of these parties would be ready to support the BJP keeping in view their past squabbles within as well as outside the Parliament.

The only reasonable ally for now in the Upper House for the NDA seems to be AIADMK, which has 10 MPs in the Rajya Sabha. But even if the AIADMK supports the BJP-led government, they would still be short of required numbers.

An alternate way to crack this riddle is to call a joint session of the Parliament to pass a bill if it is stuck in the Rajya Sabha under Article 118 of the Constitution.

In such a scenario, the total strength of the Parliament would be 790 with 545 Lok Sabha members, including two nominated and 245 Rajya Sabha members.

Therefore in case of a joint session, the half-way mark would be 396 and with the NDA already having 336 members in the Lower House, it would only require 61 more members to get a bill passed.

The only holdup in this is that the government cannot call a joint session in the case of Constitutional Amendment Bills.

A bill becomes an act of Parliament only after both Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha pass the bill with a clear majority and then the President gives an approval to it.

Right now, 60 important bills like the Judicial Commission Bill and the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill are still in the course of the Rajya Sabha.

Even the Congress-led UPA had just 102 Rajya Sabha MPs and it was on the kindness of rival parties in order to get an important bill passed.

With such a fiddly situation awaiting Modi’s government, it would be imperative for the PM-designate to use his swaying skills in order to get an important bill passed in the Parliament.


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