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Didi's help may drive GST Bill pass in RS

Mamata Banerjee has announced TMC's support to the stalled bill in Upper House of Parliament

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: May 20 2016 11:58AM | Updated Date: May 20 2016 11:58AM

Didi's help may drive GST Bill pass in RS

 Even as BJP is likely to improve its numbers only marginally in Rajya Sabha after the biennial election on June 11, chances  for passage of the GST Bill looks up as Trinamool Congress has announced its support for legislation.

Soon after her win, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced  TMC's support to the stalled Goods and Services Tax Bill in in Upper House of the Parliament. 
Assembly elections setback to Congress and Left, the main opponents of the bill, will mean that their tally will not rise. On the other hand, support of TMC and other regional parties could increase the pressure on Congress to reach an accommodation on the tax measure.
With NDA to improve its tally in Rajya Sabha, TMC's support will add 12 votes if the GST Bill comes up for division. For the first time, NDA will surpass UPA's tally in Upper House with BJP and its ally TDP may get seven additional seats.
Though just TMC's support won't help government to cross the Rajya Sabha hurdle, NDA may hope to gain support of other "non-NDA and non-UPA" parties like Samajwadi Party, BJD and the BSP. 
These parties may together enhance balance in favour of NDA either by voting with it or just by abstaining to bring down the half-way mark.
Though AIADMK had earlier opposed the GST Bill, keeping in mind the state's manufacturing base that would be affected by such a law, the party may strike a deal as its opposition is not ideological or obstructionist. The party, with its performance in Tamil Nadu, will gain one additional seat in RS after its biennial election next month.
BJP's big win in Assam will not immediately help the party improve its tally in RS as there will not be any vacancy in the Upper House from the state until June, 2019. 
Winning parties in Kerala, West Bengal and Puducherry will also have to wait before their numbers can get a boost.
Elections to 57 RS seats from some states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana and UP, will be held next month. Most of these seats in the Upper House will be vacant during June-August.
It is anticipated that the BJP will win four morel Rajya Sabha seats while the TDP may win three others in the biennial election. As against its 14 retiring members from different states, the BJP may get 18 seats.
Six of these 57 seats will be vacant from Tamil Nadu since some members are retiring after the completion of their six-year term. Three of them are from AIADMK, two from DMK and one from the Congress. 
Ruling AIADMK may win four seats - gain of an additional one seat - supported by its strength in the state assembly and the DMK would be able to retain the remaining two.
NDA will have benefit of nominated members as well. The President, on recommendation of the government, had nominated six members in April while one seat still remains vacant. 
If government takes a decision on vacant seat, it will have an advantage of total seven votes. 
Two of the six nominated members have already decided to accept the decision of BJP.