Amit Shah

Amit Shah Enters Rajya Sabha, Morale Booster For BJP Members

In what could be a major boost to the treasury benches in the House of Elders, BJP president Amit Shah is set to enter the Rajya Sabha after Tuesday’s polling for three seats from Gujarat and six from West Bengal.

This will be the first stint as a parliamentarian for the five-time MLA from Gujarat, who was seen as the key strategist for BJP’s string of successes since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, after which the party formed India’s first majority government in nearly 30 years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had dubbed Shah the “man of the match” soon after the win. Shah has clarified that even after becoming an MP, he will continue to be at the helm of the party and that there was no question of him joining the Union Cabinet, which is likely to be expanded shortly to fill up the vacant slots.

Party sources said Shah’s presence in Parliament would be a morale booster for BJP members. Only recently, BJP became the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha, where the opposition has so far been able to dictate terms as the ruling party lacked the numbers.

The opposition got certain amendments in the National Commission for Backward Classes Bill passed while the bill to amend the Motor Vehicle Act was referred to the select committee.

Absenteeism has been a major issue for BJP, and opposition’s success in making changes in the backward classes bill was largely attributed to empty treasury benches.

Party sources said Shah’s presence in the House would have an impact on other members. Shah makes his parliamentary debut at a time when M Venkaiah Naiduis set to take over as chairman of the upper House as the vice president-elect.

 The other two BJP candidates from Gujarat for the RS polls are Union minister Smriti Irani and Balwantsinh Rajput. Vying to retain his seat, senior Congress member Ahmed Patel is keeping his fingers crossed, thanks to the presence of BJP’s third candidate at a time when half a dozen Congress MLAs have left the party in the state where polls are due later this year.
Patel needs 45 votes to win. Congress has 44 MLAs, who have returned to the state after a stay at a resort near Bengaluru for over a week, and the party has been banking on the support of two NCP MLAs and one each of JD(U) and the now-disbanded Gujarat Parivartan Party. JD(U)’s Chotubhai Vasava has said he will support those who will give something to his constituency. Moreover, JD(U) is now in alliance with BJP in Bihar.
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