Elections in 2017 Part 2-The Rajya Sabha

Supporters of the present NDA government often say that they are hampered by not having a majority in the Rajya Sabha. At least 10 Rajya Sabha seats are due for election  according to the schedule given below. Some more may fall vacant (for instance, Mithun Chakravarthy, a TC member from Bengal, has announced his resignation a few days back).

As we will see in a moment, there will be no significant change in the composition of the Rajya Sabha in 2017, regardless of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere.

This table was compiled from the official website of the Rajya Sabha, from where we can deduce who will retire in 2017.

http://164.100.47.5/newmembers/MemlistElDate.aspx

We get this list:

rajya-sabha-2017

Only Goa’s Assembly will have changed while Gujarat and West Bengal would remain the same at the time of the Rajya Sabha elections in July-August.

In Goa, the one seat held by the INC may go to the BJP (or perhaps the AAP if something very peculiar happens).

In Bengal, the 6 seats are held by the Trinamul (4), INC (1) and CPM (1). Looking at the present constitution of the assembly these seats are likely to go to the same parties (though the CPM is the only one in some danger of losing its seat).

In Gujarat, the 3 seats going for election this year include 2 held by the BJP and 1 by the INC. The elections in August are likely to give the same result.

So one would have to look beyond 2017 to see any significant change in the composition of the Rajya Sabha.

Also, the elections for the President and Vice President are due in July and August respectively and will probably be held before the Rajya Sabha elections described above (though the results of the latter hardly matter).

It may be a source of worry to the NDA that they may not have sufficient strength in the electoral college to be sure of getting their preferred Presidential candidate elected. By then, the assembly elections for UP, Punjab and 3 smaller states will have taken place and present indications are that the NDA will not gain significantly.

This is also apparent for the Vice-Presidential election where the electoral college consists of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members only.

So 2017 will be a year of numerous elections but, barring some completely unexpected events, they may not result in significant changes to the relative strengths of the main parties and alliances.

 

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Looking ahead to India’s elections in 2017-Part 1

These are the Assembly elections due to take place in 2017:

state-assembly-2017

Knowing the end dates of the Assembly terms and the way that the Election Commission has handled things in the recent past, the approximate dates of polling can be predicted. It is too early to make serious predictions on the results.

I have included a column showing the number of Lok Sabha seats for each state. This is to keep things in perspective; even HP and UK do not account for even 1% of the Lok Sabha strength. Thus what happens in these states plus Goa and Manipur are not very significant on the national level. The real battleground is UP and Punjab now, and Gujarat later in the year.

So what difference do these results make to the larger picture? In terms of the Presidential election in July, not much. In terms of the composition of the Rajya Sabha, again not much because the seats up for election in 2017 are primarily from Bengal and Gujarat where there is not likely to be much change in the Rajya Sabha members elected. I will cover this in more detail later.

What is significant is the likelihood of a change in government in UP and Punjab, and probably Uttarakhand and Himachal as well. Even if there is a change in Goa and Manipur, it may not matter on the larger scale unless the AAP does unexpectedly well in Goa. What impact these changes will have on the functioning of the Central government are very speculative at the moment.

To be continued.