I saw Anubha Bhonsle’s programme “CRUX” in which Swaraj Thapa says that Gorkhaland is not a possibility before 2019 because BJP or NDA do not have majority in Rajya Sabha (Upper House of the Parliament). Thereafter many people have taken that as a gospel truth. And I even read in few of the posts that Bimal Gurung has come out of the hiding after that statement by Swaraj Thapa.
Why did Swaraj Thapa make that statement which has sown the seeds of doubts in the mind of many people, I am not aware. But let’s have our numbers right in the Raajya Sabha before we can make any analysis whether it will be possible for the BJP to bifurcate West Bengal to carve out Gorkhaland or whatever name the state may have.
BJP has clear majority in lok Sabha. So passing any bill therein is no problem. UPA still has majority in Rajya Sabha therefore BJP/NDA have had problem in getting their bills passed such as GST and Land Reform Bills. Let us look at the position of NDA, and other parties in Rajya Sabha as of now.
Rajya Sabha has 243 seats and half way mark to pass any bill will be 123. NDA has 77 seats (56 of BJP). UPA has 84 seats (59 of Cong). And other parties have 82 seats mainly among them being; SP – 18, AIDMK – 13, TMC – 11, CPM & BJD – 8 each and total of various other parties with lesser number of seats is 24.
But there will be significant change in number of seats of various parties in Rajya Sabha in Apr/May 2018 due to retirement and reelection. Huge assembly victories in UP, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur in Mar this year will have impact in Rajya Sabha representation.
Let us now look at the position that will be in Rajya Sabha in Apr/May 2018 after the reelection.
NDA will have 95 seats (69 of BJP). UPA will have 66 (44 of Cong & 8 seats of JD(U)). And other parties will have 84; SP – 14, TMC – 12, AIDMK – 12, CPM – 8, BSP – 5, BJD – 7, TRS –5, and other smaller parties 21. This will be the scenario in Rajya Sabha in May 2018.
NDA needs the support of other parties to reach the magic figure of 123 to have any bills passed in the Rajya Sabha. So let us see how it can be worked.
Let us analyze which all parties can support the demand of a separate state. SP – NO. TMC – NO. CPM – NO. NCP – NO with 4 seats.
Those who can support (keeping in mind the recent support for the BJP Presidential candidate Ramnath Kovind and those who support smaller states) are - AIDMK – 12 (Supports Presidential candidate), BSP – 5 (Mayawati supported the smaller states within UP during her tenure as a Chief minister of UP). BJD – 7 (Supports Presidential candidate). TRS – 5 (Supports Presidential candidate). Besides JD(U) is likely to support (8 seats) though part of UPA as it now supports the Presential candidate. That makes 132 seats in favour – 9 more than the required to pass the bill.
All depends on how our leaders of Darjeeling hills can play their cards in lobbying for separate state of Gorkhaland. Here one needs to be proactive in approaching the various parties for support rather than waiting for BJP to garner support for them.
If it happens it will be win-win situation for the BJP. BJP at present has 2 seats in Parliament from West Bengal. After creation of Gorkhaland, it should have 4 seats for sure; one each from Darjeeling, Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Bihar. 100% jump from the present 2 seats.
Therefore I said it is “Now Or Never”.
Who knows what will be BJP tally in Lok Sabha in 2019 election? Will they have majority? Your guess is as good as mine. We must strike the iron when it is hot. It is right moment now. Let the momentum build up to summer of 2018. And by then BJP will have gotten in the mode of election 2019 – new election, new manifesto, balance sheet of old manifesto etc.
PS: I had given links to my blog of 2008 yesterday to see what is in the name. And why not demand UT (Union Territory) instead of a separate state and encompass whole of North Bengal.
It may be wiser to settle for a different name than Gorkhaland. RSS had hinted it recently. I had said in 2008. Links to my blog are here.