With the members of Parliament all set to cast their ballot to elect the next Vice-President of India on Saturday, NDA candidate and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M Venkaiah Naidu is speculated to be the strongest contender to clinch the majority of the votes. And while the ruling NDA dominates the Lok Sabha with a clear majority the chances of Naidu becoming the Vice-President becomes obvious. To add more glory to the saffron party cards, this is the first time ever the ruling party has emerged as the largest party in the Rajya Sabha, with an evident potentiality to push through key legislations in the Upper House.
And with reflections of its steadily falling fortunes across the country, the Congress party had also, for the first time, come to the second spot in the Upper House. With Madhya Pradesh tribal leader Sampathiya Uikey’s oath as a Rajya Sabha member on Thursday, the Narendra Modi led party took the number of lawmakers to 58, one more than the grand old party of India. Even during the epic rule of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP had mostly below 50 seats in the Upper House.
The opposition at the parliament has fielded the former governor of West Bengal, Gopal Krishna Gandhi for the Vice-Presidential post against Naidu. While the BJD and BJP’s fresh ally JD(U) had voted for NDA nominee Ramnath Kovind to elect him as the President of India, the parties will be supporting the opposition nominee for the Vice-Presidential election.
The saffron party came to power with a majority in the Lok Sabha after its massive victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections while the Congress witnessed a downfall by managing to establish power in just six out of 29 states. However, the BJP-led NDA still falls short of the majority mark in the 245-member Rajya Sabha, but the scenario is likely to differ in mid-2018, when the saffron party has a promising chance to outnumber the opposition grouping with the help of its allies.
The Election Commission has stated that the counting of the polls for the vice-presidential election will commence after voting, and the result will be declared at 7:00 pm on Saturday. All MPs will be using special pens to mark their support for the favored candidate between 10 am to 5 pm at the Parliament. While the total strength of the two Houses is 790, there are two vacancies at the Lok Sabha and one at the Rajya Sabha.
By Priyam Mukhopadhyay