NDA candidate and JD(U) leader Harivansh Narayan Singh was on Thursday elected as the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. Harivansh got 125 votes as against opposition’s BK Hariprasad who polled 105 in the House with a majority mark of 119. The election was necessitated after former Deputy Chairperson and Congress leader PJ Kurien retired from the House on July 1.
Harivansh Narayan, a journalist-turned-politician is a first-time lawmaker and is considered close to JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar. Before being elected to the Upper House, his only stint in politics was during the tenure of former PM Chandra Shekhar, who chose him as a political adviser.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was present during voting, walked up to Singh to congratulate him after the process was complete. “An accomplished writer, journalist and active Parliamentarian, I am sure he will further enrich Parliamentary proceedings in his new role,” he wrote on Twitter. The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also congratulated Harivansh Narayan on his elevation. “In elections, some on wins and someone loses. But the Deputy Chairman is no longer a part of any single party. He belongs to the country now,” Azad said. He also hoped that Harivansh Singh would give enough opportunities to opposition members to raise their issues.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley who made his first appearance during the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament also extended his best wishes to the Deputy Chairman. Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and Ghulam Nabi Azad accompanied Harivansh to the seat designated for the Deputy Chairman in the House, which is next to that of the Leader of Opposition. Other leaders including Ram Gopal Yadav, Ram Das Athwale, Sanjay Raut congratulated Harivansh Narayan.
The NDA enjoyed the support of Shiv Sena, BJD, SAD, TRS and AIADMK. The Opposition candidate BK Hariprasad, meanwhile, got the support of Congress, TMC, DMK, Left parties, SP, BSP, NCP, TDP votes. Both YSRCP and AAP boycotted the polls.
Speaking on the occasion, newly-elected Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Harivansh Narayan Singh expressed gratitude to all those present in the House. “I have learned a lot working with you all, and am certain that it will help me deal with matters better. I am also nervous because I will be working with Parliamentarians who come with a lot of experience and knowledge,” he said. He later presided over the proceedings of the House and was applauded with thumping of desks by members.