Bihar elections are over and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lost out on an opportunity to improve the party’s tally in the upper house or Rajya Sabha. While BJP’s crushing defeat in Bihar elections has bolstered concerns that the government would struggle to pass key policy reforms, all may not be lost for the ruling party.
The BJP-led NDA came to power in 2014 winning a landslide victory securing 336 of the 543 seats in the lower house of the Parliament. Soon after assuming power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a slew of reforms to turn around the economy. But a year on, the country has not moved much given the woeful position of NDA in the upper house where it has just 64 delegates, almost half of what is required to clear any major legislation.
While the alliance has improved its tally in the Rajya Sabha from 60 when it started off in May 2014 to 64 by adding a new alliance partner and winning the elections in Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir, it has been unsuccessful in clearing the much needed land reform and GST bills in the upper house.
A bumpy road ahead
Bihar wasn’t going to tilt the game in BJPs favour but a win would have ensured that it gets a few of the five of the 16 Rajya Sabha seats up for grabs next year. However, the situation doesn’t seem so bad for BJP as it is expected to improve its tally up from wins in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
With 75 seats up for grabs in 2016 the party may be able to improve its tally by 14-15 seats as Congress is expected to lose 8-9 helping it to clear passage for GST legislation. But it will have to seek help of some regional parties which seems like a daunting task at the moment as Janata Parivar presents a strong opposition and viable alternative to the BJP.
Though GST may be cleared next year, the Rajya Sabha equation may not help BJP in clearing the much needed land and labour reforms. With elections for 10 seats in 2017 and 68 in 2018, BJP may not see much change till it goes into election in 2019.