Congress Stares At Possibility Of Losing Leader Of Opposition Status In Rajya Sabha After Debacle In State Polls

Parliament
Parliament (ANI photo)

The poor performance of the Congress in assembly polls across five states will impact its Rajya Sabha numbers and the party is now staring at the possibility of losing the Leader of Opposition status in the upper house of Parliament.

After binneial polls to Upper House are held this year, Congress numbers will be at a historic low and likely to be close to the minimum strength required to maintain the Leader of Opposition status. If the party is unable to do well in Gujarat polls later this year and Karnataka assembly polls next year, it could lose this status in the subsequent binneial elections to the upper House. The Congress at present has 34 members in the upper House and is on course to lose at least seven seats this year to hit a record low.

According to the norms, a party should have at least 10 per cent strength of the total membership of House get the status of Leader of Opposition for its leader.

Rajya Sabha officials said that a party should have at least 25 members for its leader in the House to retain the status of Leader of Opposition. Mallikarjun Kharge is the leader of Congres and the Leader of Opposition in the House.

The Congress does not have leader of Opposition status in Lok Sabha as its present strength in the House is less than the 10 per cent of the membership of the House.

The Election Commission had earlier this month announced elections on March 31 to fill 13 vacancies in the Rajya Sabha — five from Punjab and eight from Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Kerala, Nagaland and Tripura.

The members retiring next month from Punjab include two of Congress. The Aam Aadmi Party, with its three-fourth majoirty in the new Punjab assembly, will substantially boost its numbers and will be in a position to win at least six out of the seven seats in the state for which elections will be held this year to fill vacancies in the Upper House. The Congress numbers will also come down in Assam, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarkhand and Uttar Pradesh this year.

While a few seats will be vacant next year in the upper House due to retirement of memers, many more vacancies will be up for binneial elections in 2024 and Congress performance in the coming assembly polls will have bearing on its numbers in the Rajya Sabha.

The BJP retained power in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa in the results of assembly polls declared on Thurday. AAP registered a landslide victory in Punjab.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is poised to increase its numbers in the upper House to cross 100 due to its strong performance in the assembly polls and the National Democratic is set to get majority mark.

The members of Rajya Sabha are elected by MLAs.

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