NEW DELHI: After Rajya Sabha member Neeraj Shekhar, the Samajwadi Party may lose two more parliamentarians to the ruling BJP. Sources say the two lawmakers are in touch with the BJP and may announce their resignations in the coming days.
With these acquisitions, the BJP will inch closer to a majority in the Rajya Sabha or upper house, where it is in a minority and struggles to pass legislation.
Neeraj Shekhar, whose Rajya Sabha term was to end next year, quit his membership in parliament and in the Samajwadi Party on Monday. A day later, he joined the BJP, adding a seat to the party’s tally in the upper house.
Neeraj Shekhar, the son of former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, had been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2014 and was due to retire on November 25, 2020.
An election will be held for his seat. The BJP, with its huge majority in Uttar Pradesh, can easily win one more seat in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is in a minority.
If two more resign, the majority mark will drop to 120 while the BJP will have more members.
With 116 members, the NDA is four short of the majority mark in the Rajya Sabha. Last week, four of six Telugu Desam Party members joined the BJP.
Three resignations will leave Akhilesh Yadav’s party with only seven members in the Rajya Sabha besides five in the Lok Sabha.
Neeraj Shekhar had contested and won from his father’s traditional Ballia constituency as a Samajwadi Party candidate in by-polls in 2007 after the former prime minister’s death. In 2009, he was re-elected from the constituency. After his defeat in 2014, the Samajwadi Party nominated him to the Rajya Sabha.
Sources say Neeraj Shekhar had been upset with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for not fielding him from Ballia in the recent national election.