New Delhi, Aug 9: Aided by divisions in the ranks of the opposition, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh sailed through easily in the election for Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman on Thursday defeating Opposition nominee B.K. Hariprasad. Harivansh, a Janata Dal-United (JD-U) member and a veteran journalist, secured 125 votes as against 105 of Hariprasad in a House of 244 besides the Chairman. Only 230 members were present.
The comfortable win for the ruling coalition nominee came on the back of support from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Telangana Rashtra Samitai (TRS), both of which fight the BJP in Odisha and Telangana respectively but extended their hand of friendship in Delhi. As expected, 13 MPs of the AIADMK also supported the NDA candidate. BJD and TRS have 9 and 6 members respectively. Roughly, the BJP and its allies account for 112 MPs while the Opposition that includes parties like BJD and TRS account for 113.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to Chief Ministers Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) and K. Chandrasekhara Rao (Telangana) seeking support for Harivansh. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with three members, abstained with party leaders saying the Congress did not involve them in consultations while the YSR Congress party with two MPs also abstained. Following his election, Harivansh was conducted to his seat, which is beside the Leader of Opposition, by Leader of the House Arun Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad.
On his part, Harivansh assured the members that he will conduct the proceedings of the House in a non-partisan manner. “Now I do not belong to any party,” he said, seeking cooperation of the members in the smooth conduct of the House. (IANS)