Hari vs Hari in Dy Chair race; numbers back NDA
The Opposition has decided to field BK Hariprasad of the Congress to take on NDA’s BK Harivansh of the JD(U) in the Thursday’s election for the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson. With the BJP succeeding in ensuring the support of the BJD, the TRS, the AIADMK, and its sulking ally Shiv Sena, Harivansh seems to have a numerical edge over Hariprasad.
BJP sources claimed that Harivansh, first-time MP, is likely to get the support of 126 members in the Upper House, which has an effective strength of 244 MPs. Congress MP Hariprasad is likely to end up with about 111 votes in the present situation.
Leader of the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who was unable to attend the House following a kidney transplant, is likely to be present for a brief period to participate in the voting. This will be Jaitley’s first appearance in Parliament during the ongoing Monsoon Session.
According to the calculations of BJP floor managers, Harivansh will get the backing of 91 members of the NDA, three nominated MPs, erstwhile SP member Amar Singh. Harivansh is also counting on the support from the AIADMK (13 members), the TRS (6), the YSRCP (2) and the INLD (1), adding up to 117. Besides, the ruling alliance is also counting on the support of 9 BJD MPs, thus totalling 126 votes.
The Shiv Sena, which abstained from the No-Confidence Motion in the Lok Sabha against the Government, announced to back the NDA candidate. “We will back the NDA candidate,” said Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai. The party has three members in the Upper House.
On the other hand, Hariprasad has the support of 61 MPs of the Congress-led UPA, 13 members each of the TMC and the SP, six MPs of the TDP, five of the CPI(M), four each of the BSP and the DMK, two of the CPI and one MP of the JD(S), adding up to 109. One nominated and one independent member will also support the candidature of Hariprasad, sources in the Opposition said. This would take the expected Opposition total to about 111.
Harivansh met the BJD Rajya Sabha members in Parliament and sought their support for him. “We have numbers on our side and Harivanshji will comfortably win the election.
It would have been better if the deputy chairman was elected unanimously,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said.
The candidates filed their nominations on Wednesday for the election scheduled to take place around 11 am on Thursday.
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar had earlier reached out to the Opposition and met Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad for a consensus.
While Harivansh gave four notices for his nomination as the NDA nominee, Congress member Hariprasad gave five sets of notices as the Opposition candidate.
Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma claimed that the numbers were in their favour. He said the Opposition had to contest the post as things were "not right" in the Rajya Sabha.
The arithmetic could change with the death of DMK chief Karunanidhi and uncertainty whether the party’s MPs, including his daughter Kanimozhi, would travel to Delhi for the election.
The PDP, which has two MPs, has declared it is abstaining. The AAP with three members has not clarified its stand so for. However, they have indicated support to Opposition candidate only if Congress chief Rahul Gandhi called up AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal for the same. .
"If they (the Congress) ask for our vote, we will oblige. It is meaningless to vote compulsively (for the Congress), if they do not need it. If Rahul Gandhi can hug Narendra Modi, why cannot he ask Arvind Kejriwal for support to his party’s candidate," AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh told the media.
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