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Congress likely to lose the Leader of Opposition position in Rajya Sabha after elections to the upper house

Congress tally in Rajya Sabha is likely to be reduced from 34 to 27, the party needs at leaset25 MPs to retain leader of opposition position

Clouds have gathered over the fate of Congress in the upper house of Parliament Rajya Sabha after its smashing defeat in the recent assembly elections. While the Congress has already lost its stature as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the party is sure to face a setback in Rajya Sabha with decreased representation in the state assemblies.

As of now, The Congress party holds clout over the RS seats from Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra, i.e the states where it participates in forming governments in power. With the recent loss in Punjab, all Five seats from the state are likely to be swayed away by the AAP. While the results of assembly elections of five states are out, the election for 13 Rajya Sabha seats will be held on March 31. Out of the 13 seats, 5 seats are from Punjab, 2 are from Assam, 1 in Himachal Pradesh, 3 in Kerala and one seat each in Nagaland and Tripura. By the end of the year, another set of RS seats including 13 seats in Uttar Pradesh, five in Bihar, four in Rajasthan, three in Madhya Pradesh, two in Punjab and one seat in Uttarakhand will go on polls.

The Punjab dreams of Congress have been dashed after its shameful defeat in the assembly elections. With the AAP bagging 92 out of 117 assembly seats, in all likelihood, the 5 Rajya Sabha seats from Punjab will go to AAP’s basket. Today, the party nominated party leaders including Dr Sandeep Pathak and Raghav Chadha, Cricketer Harbhajan Singh, industrialist Sanjeev Arora from Ludhiana and Ashok Mittal of the Lovely Professional University as candidates for Rajya Sabha.

While the AAP has fielded all five of its candidates, the opposition has not given any candidate as of now. While the tally of AAP members in Rajya Sabha will increase from 3 to 8, the increasing strength of regional parties in their respective states has affected Congress the most with its Rajya Sabha stature. As of now, the party can only hope to secure one seat from Kerala or Assam at the very least. With elections for over seventy-five seats to be held in the upper house by the end of the year, the Congress party which currently holds 34 members will be reduced to 27 – owing to its continued downfall in the assembly elections.

This rings alarm bells for the Congress as it is a requisite for a party to hold at least 10% of the total seats in the house to retain a position for Leader of Opposition. The Rajya Sabha has 250 seats wherein 238 seats represent the states, whereas 12 are nominated by the President. Hence for Congress to retain its position as Leader of Opposition which is currently led by veteran Mallikarjun Kharge, it is imperative that it holds at least 25 seats in the house. However, looking at the party positions in various assemblies, it looks difficult for the party to retain its course in the Rajya Sabha.

Owing to its impressive performance in the recent assembly elections, the BJP looks forward to adding up a few more seats in the Rajya Sabha. With a current tally of 97, BJP’s number will increase to 104 and by the end of the year, NDA will collectively secure a majority with 122 seats in the Rajya Sabha as well. It is important to note that representation in Rajya Sabha is directly linked to the stature in the states as RS MPs are elected by the state legislative assembly members and not directly by the people like in Lok Sabha.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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