Rajya Sabha deputy chairman election: Nitish Kumar speaks to Naveen Patnaik, seeks support for Harivansh

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Updated: September 10, 2020 2:59 PM

BJD has nine members in Rajya Sabha of the 10 seats from Odisha, while the other one is held by the BJP.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. (file pic)

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday dialled Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik, seeking his party’s support for NDA nominee Harivansh Narayan Singh for the post of the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman, sources said. Harivansh, a Janata Dal (United) MP, filed the nomination for the post on Wednesday.

JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar requested Patnaik to extend the BJD’s support to Harivansh Narayan Singh for the post, a source at the Chief Minister’s residence, ‘Naveen Niwas’, said. Patnaik’s BJD had supported Harivansh in the last election as well, he said.

Further word from the BJD president has not been received so far, the source said.

The monsoon session of Parliament is scheduled from September 14 to October 1. The election for the deputy chairman is likely to be held on the first day of the session. The nomination filing process began on September 7 and will conclude on September 11.

The election for the post was necessitated as the incumbent Harivansh completed his term as a member of the Rajya Sabha earlier this year. He was sent to the Upper House of Parliament again from Bihar. In 2018, he had defeated Congress’s BK Hariprasad and was elected the deputy chairman.

Harivansh is likely to be elected to the post again as BJP floor managers are confident of securing the support of about 140 MPs, including the fence-sitters YSR Congress, TRS and BJD.

The strength of the BJP-led NDA has also gradually increased to more than 114 in the house with an effective strength of 244 members as there is one vacancy.

Floor managers of NDA are trying to build a consensus among all parties so that Harivansh could be elected unanimously.

The Congress has decided that the opposition will put up a joint candidate for the post and it will reach out to various parties in this regard.

BJD has nine members in Rajya Sabha of the 10 seats from Odisha, while the other one is held by the BJP. BJP’s Ashiwini Baishnab was elected to Rajya Sabha with the support of BJD in June last year.

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