Numbers stack up favourably for NDA in RS

A steady exodus of opposition MPs has made the numbers more favourable than ever for the Modi government in the Rajya Sabha as the ruling NDA is now barely short of a majority and is comfortably placed with the support of friendly regional parties.

One more Congress MP quit his party on Wednesday and BJP sources said they expect more desertion from opposition ranks as political parties gear up for Parliament's Winter Session.

After a united opposition managed to thwart its legislative agenda in the House often during much of the first term, the ruling BJP negated the opposition's numerical superiority by wooing its members and co-opting fence-sitters in Parliament's first session when it came back to power with a stronger mandate.

With the Congress MP quitting the party on Wednesday, its strength in Rajya Sabha has come down to 45 and the BJP, due to its bigger numbers in the state assembly, is likely to grab the seat when the by-poll is held there, taking its tally to 83 in the 245-member.

The Upper House now has five vacancies and the combined strength of the ruling NDA is around 106.

The AIADMK, which is not officially an NDA constituent but has mostly backed the government, has 11 members along with seven of the BJD, six of the TRS and two of the YSR Congress, three other regional parties with a record of supporting the Modi government on key issues.