RS Deputy Chairman election on Aug 9

RS Deputy Chairman election on Aug 9

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. PTI file photo.

Elections to the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman will be held this Thursday, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said on Monday.

While the elections will be held on Thursday, the last date of filing nominations will be 12 noon on Wednesday.

Naidu announced the schedule in Rajya Sabha. The post of Deputy Chairman was vacant for over one month after Congress' P J Kurien retired on July 1.

So far there is no consensus on the issue, both ruling NDA and Opposition will be holding intense discussions to zero in on a candidate. Opposition parties have earlier said they were in no mood to accept a BJP candidate. Even within the Opposition, several parties are not keen on supporting a Congress candidate.

There was speculation that Akali Dal's Naresh Gujral could be fielded by the NDA but he had made it clear that he will contest only if he is a consensus candidate. Gujral's name cropped up as he could attract the support of non-NDA parties like TDP and BJD, whose chiefs N Chandrababu Naidu and Biju Patnaik have close connections with the former and his family.

The names of BJD's Prasanna Acharya, DMK's Tiruchi Siva, Trinamool Congress' Sukhendu Shekhar Roy and NCP's Vandana Chavan were speculated as a possible joint Opposition candidate. However, Roy had told an Opposition meeting that TMC was not fielding a candidate.

The present numbers in the Rajya Sabha, which has a total of 244 MPs, does not allow BJP or Congress to get their candidate win on their own.

With 123 being the half-way mark, Opposition can now be confident of 121 votes while the ruling BJP-led NDA can get up to 108 votes. BJD with nine MPs and TRS with six MPs have not opened their mind though reports indicated that the latter may align with BJP, taking the ruling side's numbers to 114.

The Opposition votes include Congress (50), Trinamool Congress and SP (13 each), TDP (6), RJD and CPI-M (5 each), DMK, BSP and NCP (4 each) and AAP (3) among others. Opposition leaders said PDP with 2 MPs will also support the Opposition candidate.

For the ruling party, the main voters are BJP (69), AIADMK (13), Nominated (7), JD-U (6) and Akali Dal and Shiv Sena (3 each). With Shiv Sena abstaining from the no-confidence motion last month, it is to be seen what strategy it will take.

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