For BJP, Rajya Sabha contests are more than prestige battles

The Bharatiya Janata Part’s sensational win in the Rajya Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh, where it won a ninth seat as a bonus after having secured eight as per expectations, has been analysed from the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance perspective. Once it became known that the SP would back the BSP candidate for one of the 10 seats that had to be filled, and taking into account the support of the Congress as well, it was considered that the BSP candidate would sail through. But the math fell aside due to cross-voting and deft political management by the BJP. The freshly minted SP-BSP alliance has suffered a defeat but as of now it continues to be intact. But the message has gone across that the tie-up, which helped the SP candidates score victories in the recently by-polls to two high-profile Assembly constituencies in the State, cannot be a guarantee for success for either Mayawati’s or Akhilesh Yadav’s party. The Rajya Sabha triumph is a shot in the arm for the BJP, but it remains to be seen if it can replicate a similar success on the ground in coming elections. There is also no certainty that the SP-BSP partnership will survive until then. Moreover, after its loss, the momentum of opposition unity has taken a hit, however small. In any case, nobody is sure as to what shape this combine will take. Quite probably, there will be two kinds of united opposition: One led by the Congress and the other by non-Congress regional parties. This could confuse the voters and remind them of the past cases when similar united entities came to rule the nation and made a mess of governance. But there is another way to look at the BJP’s recent victory in the Rajya Sabha elections. It has been working for some time now in enhancing its numbers in the so-called upper House. While it has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, the other House has remained its weak point, where until recently the Congress had the largest number of members. Tables have been turned after the latest round, and the BJP has emerged as the single largest party. But it is still way short of the simple majority mark, and this has meant that its crucial Bills get held up there. A good example is that of the anti-triple divorce Bill to help Muslim women. Thus, for the BJP, every single seat win in the Rajya Sabha is important.