Election of Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha will take place on August 9, Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu announced today. “The members can give their notice of motion till August 8, by 12 noon,” he said. The election will take place a day before the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament ends.
PJ Kurien of the Congress retired from the position on July 2, necessitating the election that is decided by a simple majority. The election is seen as a key test for the Congress as it looks to retain the position.
While the Congress has indicated that it is ready to back a non-Congress candidate from the Opposition, the Left parties are agreeable to a candidate from the Trinamool Congress, which is said to be keen to have its MP as the joint candidate. The YSRCP, with two seats, has decided to vote against the BJP candidate.
“Opposition parties will collectively decide whenever the situation demands…the process has to begin. We are for filling up the vacancy as early as possible…we don’t know what is the thinking of the government,” senior CPI leader D Raja said.
Meanwhile, the NDA, which doesn’t have the required number in the upper house, is keen to have a candidate of its choice for the position. While the BJP is the single largest party in the House, it falls short of the magical number –112– required to win the election.
The opposition’s combined strength in the upper house including the erstwhile BJP-ally TDP has 117 votes. The BJP, meanwhile, enjoys the support of 106 members, including that of 14 AIADMK members. The BJD with nine members and TRS with six members has been maintaining equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress and is yet to decide which way to go.