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Published On: Tue, Jun 26th, 2018

Rajya Sabha: Close fight in Dy Chairperson election

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madhuri-dixit-amit-shahNEW DELHI : The monsoon session of Parliament, to be held between July 18 and August 10, will see the first test of Opposition unity before the 2019 Lok Sabha poll in the election of new Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.

The BJP, determined not to let the Opposition win the post, has said that to shore up its numbers, the Treasury benches will ensure that all four vacant seats of members nominated to the House by the President will be filled before the session begins. As for who would be the Treasury’s nominee for Deputy Chairperson, mum seems to be the word. “In the BJP, you never know,” said the source.

The only certainty during the forthcoming monsoon session would be the election of the Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. The seat has fallen vacant after PJ Kurien completed his term. The Opposition is likely to put up a joint candidate.
Meanwhile, The Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is understood to be toying with the idea of fielding TRS Rajya Sabha member, K. Kesava Rao, as the party nominee for the post of Deputy Chairman of the Upper House.
Vice-President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu, has already begun the process for electing the new Deputy Chairman by holding talks with the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister and the Parliament Secretary.
The Deputy Chairman’s post normally has been with the ruling party, but now with the BJP-led NDA and Congress-led UPA evenly poised in the Rajya Sabha, it looks like a close contest for the coveted and prestigious post. The BJP , which is the single largest party in the House with 69, has the support of 106 members, including that of 14 AIADMK members.
The combined opposition strength is 117 which includes 51 members of the Congress and 6 members of the TDP. There are eight nominated members. The winning candidate will require 122 votes in the 245-member House.
Against this scenario since the three regional parties BJD (with 9 members), TRS ( 6) and YSRCP (2) hold the key to the election, the BJP and the Opposition have stepped up their efforts to woo these three parties. The BJP as per its neutral stand might abstain from voting, while the YSRCP has not yet committed itself to support any side.
In the event of the BJP not managing to cobble the required number of 122 votes for winning the Dy. Chairman post, there is a possibility that it might prop up a BJD nominee. Since the Opposition too in its efforts to field a non-BJP and non-Congress candidate seemed to be inclined to project a BJD nominee, the BJP seemed to be even toying with the idea of extending support to a TRS nominee.
Regional parties are keen on fielding candidate, with TMC and BJD being the front-runners. Congress is likely to support the candidate from one of the two parties.
According to sources in BJP “A list of 10-12 names is under active consideration, including film star Madhuri Dixit and former cricket captain Kapil Dev,” said a senior office-bearer of the BJP. Marathi playwright Babasaheb Purandare, who wrote Zhanta Raja on the life of Maratha king Shivaji, is also in the fray. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in several meetings with BJP MPs, exhorted them to watch the play.
Ms. Dixit and Mr. Dev have both received visits by BJP president Amit Shah in the ongoing ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign among influences. Ms. Dixit is also the brand ambassador of flagship social sector programme of the NDA government ”Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.” “Whoever is nominated, you can be sure that there would be a firm message, political or social, embedded in the name,” said the source.
The BJP is the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha, but with the exit of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the ranks of the Opposition have swelled. While the party is counting on new ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U) to fill the breach, unless the three parties equidistant from both the Treasury and Opposition, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) show their hand, the contest will be tough to predict.(With Agency Inputs ).

 

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