The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made significant gains after the conclusion of the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha on Friday.
Elections were held for a total of 59 seats in 17 states. Of the 59, a by-election was held for one seat in Kerala. Elections on the remaining 58 seats were held because those holding them will retire in April.
By-election was held in Kerala after sitting legislator from Janata Dal (United), MP Veerendra Kumar, resigned in December 2017 in protest of Nitish Kumar joining hands with the NDA.
On Friday, Veerendra Kumar, was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha with support of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF).
But the main focus of the elections was on the remaining 58 seats – especially in Uttar Pradesh, where 11 contenders were in a battle for 10 seats.
As the smoke cleared, the BJP emerged as the biggest gainer. The saffron party’s strength in the 245-member house will go from the current 58 to 69.
The BJP secured nine of the 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh and a seat each in Karnataka, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. In all, the party won 28 of the 58 Rajya Sabha seats in 16 states that will fall vacant in April.
On Friday, biennial elections were held in 25 of the seats in six states. The BJP won 12, the Congress took five, Trinamool Congress (TMC) clinched four, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) secured three and the Samajwadi Party (SP) got one.
On March 15, 33 candidates were elected unopposed in the remaining 10 states. Of them, the BJP won 17. The winners included union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar. The Congress won four, the Biju Janata Dal three, the RJD, JD-U and TDP two each and the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the YSR Congress one each.
The BJP gained six seats on 15 March with one gain each in Haryana and Uttarakhand and gains on two seats each in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
But the maximum gain that the party made was in Uttar Pradesh where it wrested nine seats of the 10. It helped, minus the losses, in giving BJP a net gain of 11 additional seats.
Congress tally falls from 54 to 50.
Yet in spite of the major win, the BJP-led NDA is short of the majority because the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which has six members in the House, is no longer an ally.
Though the BJP has a huge majority in the Lok Sabha, many crucial bills have been stalled in the House because of the lack of numbers in Rajya Sabha.