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Published On: Wed, May 23rd, 2018

Has the BJP Lost Its Majority in the Lok Sabha?

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narendra-modi_1518008461NEW DELHI :  The fall of the two-day B.S. Yeddyurappa government in Karnataka may not be the only embarrassment that the Bharatiya Janata Party has had to face in the last few days.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s tally has come down to 272 seats in the Lok Sabha for the first time in this tenure of Parliament. BJP had won 282 seats in the 2014 general election, giving them a simple majority in the lower house of Parliament. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had won 336 seats out of 543.
The sudden dip in BJP’s tally was caused after Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Saturday accepted the resignation of BS Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu. The two had to step down after becoming Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the recently concluded Karnataka Assembly election.

The saffron party’s tally in the Lok Sabha however excludes the Speaker. Out of the 272 seats that BJP currently has, Kirti Azad stands suspended from the party while Member of Parliament from Patna Sahib Constituency Shatrughan Sinha is seen as a rebel.
With two of its Lok Sabha members – Yeddyurappa himself and B. Sreeramulu – resigning to take oath as MLAs on May 19, the saffron party’s tally in the Lok Sabha may now be down to 271, from the 282 seats it won in the 2014 general elections.
With its number one short of the halfway mark in the 543-elected member Lok Sabha, the BJP may no longer enjoy a majority on its own.
On May 19, hours before the floor test was to happen, both Yeddyurappa and Sreeramulu resigned from their respective positions as MPs and took oath as newly-elected MLAs. Yeddyurappa, who was earlier a parliamentarian from Shivamogga, took oath as legislator from the Sikharipura assembly constituency, while Sreeramulu, formerly MP from Ballari, joined the Karnataka Vidhan Soudha as an MLA from Molakalmuru.
A widely circulated post — shared among others by B. Srivatsa, the social media in-charge of the Karnataka unit of the Congress claimed that the BJP has only 271 members in the Lok Sabha, one less than required for a simple majority after the resignations of B.S. Yeddyurappa and B. Sriramulu as members of the Lower House to take oath as members of the Karntaka Assembly.
Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Sriramulu have resigned, yes. But the BJP’s numbers have not fallen below the magic number. A PTI report on May 22 quoted Lok Sabha sources as saying that their resignations have been accepted by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
However, the Lok Sabha site is yet to update the numbers. As of 9 p.m. IST on May 22, BJP has 274 members, and Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Sriramulu continue to be Lok Sabha members. So is C.S. Puttaraju of the JD(S), who too has resigned from the Lok Sabha on his election to the Karnataka Assembly.
Even if it’s taken that the Lok Sabha site is yet to be updated, the resignation of two of its members has not pushed the BJP into a minority. It will still have 272 members, the exact number required for a simple majority in a House of 543 members.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan was also elected from BJP ticket. Though the Speaker doesn’t cast her vote during divisions, she can exercise her franchise in case the numbers are tied.

The fact, however, is that the BJP’s numbers have come down from 282, which it had after the 2014 elections. It has since lost six bypolls . Ajmer and Alwar in Rajasthan, Gorakhpur and Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh, Gurdaspur in Punjab, Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh while winning five (Lakhimpur, Shahdol, Beed, Kandhamal and Vadodara).
On May 28, bypolls will be held to four Lok Sabha constituencies  Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya in Maharashtra and the lone seat in Nagaland.
While Kairana and Palghar bypolls have been necessitated by the deaths of their respective BJP members, Bhandara-Gondiya and Nagaland were triggered due to resignations.

Bhandara-Gondiya’s BJP member Nana Patole resigned from the House and the party as felt that both the Central and Maharashtra governments were unable to address the issue of agrarian distress.
“Farmers suicides have gone up several levels in the last three years and despite having sought time from both Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, I wasn’t given a hearing,” he had said.In Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio resigned his seat after his election to the State Assembly.
In Kairana, the BJP is facing a strong Opposition to which it lost the high profile Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats. In Bhandara-Gondiya, it’s fighting a prestige battle against the NCP candidate backed by the Congress. In Phalghar, its former ally, the Shiv Sena, has fielded Srinivas Wanga, son of the late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga. The BJP has termed the Sena’s action a betrayal.
But even if BJP is left with a tally lower than 272 after the bypolls, the government wouldn’t be in trouble as the allies Lok Jan Shakti Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal and JD(U) together have 12 members( With Agency Inputs ).

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