Opposition divided over plan to write protest letter against RS chairman Venkaiah Naidu

A planned protest by a section of the Opposition against Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu fizzled out even before it really began

india Updated: Aug 04, 2018 08:53 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Opposition,Venkaiah Naidu,Rajya Sabha chairman
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu addresses the officers of 120th Induction Training Course of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), in New Delhi on Friday, Aug 3, 2018. (PTI)

A planned protest by a section of the Opposition against Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu fizzled out even before it really began.

Some Opposition parties had together prepared a letter to highlight their anguish against some actions of Naidu earlier this week but on Friday, at an informal morning meeting of party leaders at Naidu’s chamber, the Opposition appeared divided about its next course of action.

According to a leader present in the meeting who asked not to be identified, Naidu told the leaders that he had read the news about a letter being drafted and added: “I am waiting to get that letter.”

This person added that Naidu also said that “as chairman” he did not have the liberty to speak to the media and that he was leaving it to the “wisdom of the members” to decide their course of action.

The leader said that the Congress’ floor leader Bhubneshwar Kalita announced that he wasn’t aware about a letter and added that he had no issues with Naidu. Kalita could not be contacted for comment.

“Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien was present but he didn’t say anything. Samajwadi Party floor leader Ramgopal Yadav came late and said that he would never be a party to any such missive to the Chair,” said a second political leader present in the meeting who too didn’t want to be identified.

“The leaders mostly said they were not consulted and don’t support it. Senior congress leaders also said they were not aware of any such draft,” said a government functionary present in the meeting who asked not to be identified.

According to another person familiar with the matter, minutes after the meeting was over, Congress’ deputy leader in the Upper House Anand Sharma met Naidu exclusively and is believed to have said that he too, is not aware of any such move. When contacted, Sharma confirmed that he told Naidu he was not aware of any such protest letter.

Biju Janata Dal leader Prasanna Acharya wondered how such allegations against the chair could be made and told Naidu that he is ready to give a statement in the House to distance his party from the plan to write a letter against the chairman, according to another leader.

Later, Telangana Rashtriya Samithi’s floor leader D Srinivas wrote a letter to Naidu saying that “we are not upset with you and the way you are running the House. Nor are we a party to any plan to write to you”.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Telugu Desam Party were not present in the meeting.

The government functionary pointed out that given the personal equation between Naidu and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, “it is unlikely that the TDP would be a party to protest letters” against the Rajya Sabha chairman.

First Published: Aug 04, 2018 07:16 IST