Oppn picks Hariprasad for RS deputy chairman election

Oppn picks Hariprasad for RS deputy chairman election

B K Hariprasad in front of Parliament after Opposition declared his candidature for Rajya Sabha deputy chairman post on Wednesday. (DH Photo)

Opposition on Wednesday decided to field BK Hariprasad, senior Congress MP from Karnataka, as their candidate for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman elections.

The decision came after NCP and DMK refused to field their MPs as joint Opposition candidate for the Thursday elections in which NDA is fielding JD(U)'s journalist-turned-MP Harivansh.

The Congress has proposed the name of Hariprasad in Tuesday evening meeting after NCP said it was not keen on fielding Vandana Chavan, on whom Opposition had earlier made a larger consensus. 

Till Tuesday evening, Chavan was the front-runner but NCP changed its decision after BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik reportedly told NCP chief Sharad Pawar that he has already pledged support to Harivansh after a call from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. NCP leaders had conveyed this to Opposition leaders on Tuesday evening.

However, a twist in the tale came with BJD issuing a statement that it has not committed support to anyone and a decision will be taken on Wednesday only. The statement also interestingly referred to Kumar not voting for PA Sangma in 2012 Presidential elections even after Patnaik sought his support. 

BJD's nine MPs hold the keys to the results as their decision to vote in favour of any candidate or abstain has a direct bearing on the outcome.

At present, the NDA claims the support of 115 MPs while opposition claims support of 118. With 2-member PDP abstaining, the half-way mark has come down to 122 and a BJD decision to vote for Harivansh would see NDA sailing through. If BJD decides to abstain, then it will be tough for BJP.

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