Soon after NDA candidate Harivansh was elected deputy chairman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked into the Rajya Sabha. He shook hands with Harivansh and then led the House in congratulating him on his election. He lavished praise on him, while member after member from the Opposition congratulated him and urged him to ensure that the Opposition is given enough opportunity to raise their issues.
Modi spoke about the achievements of Harivansh, his career as a journalist and social work he had done. The PM reminded that conducting the business of the House was a challenge. In a lighter vein, he said the situation in the House was such that the umpire often faced more problems than the players.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad asked Harivansh to take more care of those sitting to his “left and left of the centre”. He said it was the Opposition that needed “nourishment” as the government was capable of having its voice heard.
In his acceptance speech, Harivansh said he would uphold the dignity of the Upper House and expressed hope that differences would be ironed out through constructive debate, consensus and guidance. He expressed confidence that all members would work together on the principles of Gandhi and Jai Prakash Narayan to ensure a smooth run of the House. He said he was moved by his election but at the same time he was frightened because he was surrounded by so many experienced people.
“But this is my strength too as you all will guide me and I assure you I will run the House in a fair and decent manner,” he said. “Treading on rules and procedures framed by our Constitution makers, we can lead the country to greatness… There would be differences in debates, there would be different opinions… We can find a way.”
Thanking PM Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Azad and other MPs for getting him elected, he said, “I studied below a tree… My journey to Lutyens Delhi or elite Delhi was possible due to each one of you… We started our journey with earthen lamps.”
Modi concluded his speech in a lighter vein, saying “ab sub kuch ‘Hari Bharose’. Aur mujhe vishwas hai ke sabhi, idhar ho ya udhar, sabhi sansadon per Hari Kripa bani rahegi (everything is now in the hands of Hari or God. And I am confident that every member, whether on this side or that side, will have his mercy).”