JD(U)'s Harivansh Narayan Singh is NDA pick for Rajya Sabha dy chairman post; Opposition to decide on its candidate today
Harivansh Narayan Singh, the former editor-in-chief of Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar, has a clean image and can garner support for the NDA.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) proposed Janata Dal (United) MP, Harivansh Narayan Singh as its nominee for the post of deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha on Monday. It could be viewed as something of a tactical masterstroke by the BJP ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha election — aimed at keeping its alliance partners in good humour and simultaneously sending out a message that 'all is well' between the BJP and JD(U).
Meanwhile, bringing to an end the uncertainty over the delay in the election for the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also chairman of the Upper House announced that 9 August would be the date of the election. Addressing members of the Rajya Sabha, Naidu said that members can give their notice to be elected to the post by 8 August.
Game of numbers
In the 245-member Upper House — with one seat vacant — the BJP, despite being the single largest party doesn’t have the required numbers to make its candidate win the election. The halfway mark is 122. To get its candidate elected for the post of deputy chairman is a real test for the Opposition parties led by the Congress, as it would like to retain the key post. On the other hand, the NDA, which is in the minority in the Rajya Sabha, is looking forward to having its candidate as deputy chairman.
While the Opposition is yet to announce its candidate, the NDA came up with a surprise by proposing the name of the JD(U) MP. The NDA presently has 90 MPs, which is 32 short of the halfway mark. The joint Opposition on the other hand has 112 MPs (including the CPI, CPM, TMC, SP, BSP, RJD, TDP, NCP etc) which is 10 short of the halfway mark. There are 42 MPs (including AIADMK-13, BJD-9, TRS-6 etc) who are maintaining a distance at present.
The NDA candidate
JD(U) MP Singh, the former editor-in-chief of Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar, has a clean image and can garner support for the NDA. Earlier, he was PRO for former prime minister Chandrashekhar. According to sources, Naidu had urged both the government and the Opposition at the beginning of the current Monsoon Session to get the election done during the session itself, and if required and possible, by going for a consensus candidate.
It is learnt that in a bid to keep the process transparent and fair, before announcing the schedule on Monday, Naidu had spoken with Parliament Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, Leader of the House, Arun Jaitley and the Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. Naidu as chairman of the Upper House had set another precedent by deciding on the disqualification of JD(U) members of Rajya Sabha in three months.
Meanwhile, sources added that the Opposition has called a meeting at 1 pm on Tuesday to finalise its candidate.
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