BJP's Gujarat performance to affect its Rajya Sabha prospects in April

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday retained power in Gujarat for the sixth consecutive time after securing a simple majority by winning 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly.

As opposition Congress led by Rahul Gandhi followed closely behind with 77 seats in the bitterly-fought election, the party is now in a comfortable position to get two MPs into the Upper House when biennial elections are held in April, 2018.

It will leave BJP only two instead of four seats falling vacant as the term of four Rajya Sabha members of the saffron party from Gujarat will end in April. 

The BJP MPs whose term will end in April are Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala, Minister of State for Roads and Highways and Chemicals and Fertilizers Mansukhbhai Mandaviya, and Shankabhai Vegad.

Both parties will require 36 MLAs for one MP to be elected to the Rajya Sabha. The BJP, unaffected by the prospect said the party will gain nearly eight Rajya Sabha members from Uttar Pradesh, as elections will be held for a total of 10 seats in April, the Hindu reported.

But it will still leave the BJP shy of a majority in Rajya Sabha. It will continue to depend on friendly parties such as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Biju Janata Dal for clearing crucial legislation. As of now, the strength of the National Democratic Alliance in the Rajya Sabha stands at 86, 37 short of the halfway mark.

The Congress suffered a jolt during the Rajya Sabha elections held in Gujarat last August as six of its MLAs in the previous Assembly left the party when Ahmed Patel was nominated as the party candidate. Patel, however, managed to win the election.

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