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  India   All India  07 Aug 2018  NDA picks JD-U’s Harivansh Narain Singh, Oppn still undecided

NDA picks JD-U’s Harivansh Narain Singh, Oppn still undecided

THE ASIAN AGE. | SREEPARNA CHAKRABARTY
Published : Aug 7, 2018, 2:03 am IST
Updated : Aug 7, 2018, 6:01 am IST

Sources in both parties confirmed while there have been some discussions about their candidature, nothing has been finalised.

JD(U) member Harivansh Narain Singh (Photo: ANI)
 JD(U) member Harivansh Narain Singh (Photo: ANI)

New Delhi: Taking the Opposition by surprise, vice-president M. Venkaiah Naidu on Monday announced elections to the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman on August 9, with JD(U) member Harivansh Narain Singh emerging as the candidate of the ruling NDA. Quickly grouping after the announcement, the Opposition parties met on Monday evening and decided to contest the poll.

Sources told this newspaper that parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar and MoS Vijay Goel met certain Opposition leaders on the OBC Commission Bill, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Monday, and during this meeting “informed” them they were thinking of fielding Mr Singh as the ruling side’s candidate.

 

While the Opposition leaders, including those from “like-minded” parties like the Congress, Trinamul Congress, RJD, DMK, TDP, CPI(M), CPI, BSP, SP and others, did not confirm that any names of possible candidates were discussed, it is learnt that the names of DMK’s Tiruchi Siva and NCP’s Vandana Chavan are being considered.

Sources in both parties confirmed while there have been some discussions about their candidature, nothing has been finalised. Top Congress sources said that as of now even a Congress candidate could not be ruled out. “It all depends on the winnability. We are open to a candidate from any party”, a source said.

 

Besides nominated and independent members affiliated to it, the BJP is banking on the support of 13, nine, six and two members of the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and YSR Congress respectively, its floor managers said. If all four back the NDA candidate, the numbers add up to 126.

However, as there is no whip for voting for the election of the deputy chair and the polls are held through secret ballot, speculation is rife that there might be cross-voting from both sides. Opposition sources said they were hoping to split the AIADMK which has 13 members. Similarly, there might also be “pressure” on some Samajwadi Party MPs to vote with the NDA.

The last date for filing of nominations is Wednesday, August 8. Also, the BJD, which had walked out during the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, might abstain this time too to remain equidistant from both the BJP and the Congress. In this scenario, the winning margin will come down and help the Opposition side.

 

On similar lines, the TDP’s C.M. Ramesh got elected to the Public Accounts Committee by a huge margin on Monday, defeating the JD(U)’s Harivansh Singh. While Mr Ramesh got 106 votes, the BJP’s Bhupendra Yadav got 69 and Mr Singh got 26 votes. Many Opposition leaders said this augurs well for the Rajya Sabha deputy chair’s election.

Another theory doing the rounds was that the NDA’s troublesome ally, Shiv Sena, might muddy the waters by fielding Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral as its candidate, defying the BJP and the Opposition parties to support him as a consensus candidate. But whether this will be a winnable formula or a just a bid to embarrass the government remains debatable.

 

Tags: venkaiah naidu, ananth kumar, harivansh narain singh
Location: India, Delhi