NCP’s Vandana Chavan likely Opposition candidate for Rajya Sabha Dy chairperson post
Vandana Chavan of the Nationalist Congress Party is likely to be the opposition candidate for the Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson’s post, the election for which will be held on August 9.
Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Satish Mishra and Trinamool Congress’ Derek o Brien proposed Chavan’s name at the meeting of opposition parties on Tuesday in Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s chamber in Parliament.
Azad is believed to be reaching out to Biju Janata Dal’s Naveen Patnaik and the Shiv Sena to seek support for her. The opposition is likely to meet again at 6pm.
The 57-year-old Chavan was recently re-elected to the Upper House from Maharashtra. She has been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2012. Her sister Vinita Kamte was married to Ashok Kamte, one of the police officers who died fighting terrorists during the attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led ruling alliance has decided to file Harivansh Narayan Singh of the Janata Dal(United), a first-time parliamentarian, amid murmurs of protest from disgruntled ally Shiromani Akali Dal.
“We don’t have any problem with the candidate as JD(U) is our friend but first they told our candidate Naresh Gujral to prepare. He was preparing and suddenly they nominated JD(U)’s candidate without informing us,” Sukhdev S Dhindsa of the SAD said after a meeting of his party to discuss the polls.
Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu announced on Monday that the election will be held at 11am on August 9. The nomination papers will have to be filed before 12pm on August 8.
The post of the deputy chairman has been lying vacant since June this year following the retirement of PJ Kurien, who had been elected to the Upper House on a Congress ticket from Kerala.
As things stand, the NDA has the support from 93 members while the opposition has 118 MPs on its side in the 244-member strong Upper House. But the ruling alliance is banking on the 33 fence-sitters, including members of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Biju Janata Dal, to sail through.
The opposition is counting on the probable cross-voting by disgruntled lawmakers of the ruling coalition in the poll where no party whip is applicable.
The deputy chairman’s poll will see the second electoral battle between the two camps in this session. Last month, the opposition was defeated in the no-confidence vote in the Lok Sabha where it secured 135 votes to the NDA’s 330.