In bid for one more term, Harivansh files papers; Opposition yet to name candidate

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 09, 2020

JD(U) leader Harivansh   -  PTI

Congress has not yet built consensus among rest of the Opposition parties

The Opposition is struggling to find a candidate to counter JD(U) leader Harivansh who submitted his nomination papers for the post of Deputy Chairman in Rajya Sabha.

According to sources, the Congress has not yet been able to build a consensus among the other Opposition parties.

It had assigned Opposition leader in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad and senior MP Ahmed Patel to talk to other Opposition parties.

The election will take place on Monday, the first day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament. Friday is the last date for submission of nomination papers.

Consensus candidate

A section of the Congress and some other Opposition parties are keen on pushing senior DMK leader Tiruchi Siva for the post.

They believe that Siva can get support from the fence-sitters such as the BJD, YSRCP and TRS and he can challenge the NDA’s candidate in the election. However, in the absence of a consensus, Congress may field its own candidate for the post if Siva decides not to fight the polls.

A senior leader in the Opposition camp told BusinessLine that the Congress had reached out to DMK leader MK Stalin on the matter.

“We believe that Siva will be acceptable for many parties who support the Centre in Rajya Sabha,” he added.

Parties like Trinamool Congress are also yet to respond to Congress’s efforts.

‘Hoping for show of unity’

The thinking in the UPA camp is that Harivansh should not be allowed to win without a contest ahead of the Bihar Assembly election to claim that the Opposition is united against the NDA.

The NDA has 116 in the 245-member House and it enjoys the support of BJD, TRS and YSRCP. BSP had also supported the NDA on a number of occasions in Rajya Sabha either by abstaining from voting or by voting along with the Government. The NDA is hopeful of getting at least 140 votes for Harivansh on Monday if there is a contest.

Proposed by BJP, LJP

Leader of the Rajya Sabha Thawarchand Gehlot and SAD leader Naresh Gujral were present when Harivansh submitted his nomination papers on Wednesday. BJP president JP Nadda and LJP’s Ram Vilas Paswan have proposed his name.

Harivansh’s term as Deputy Chairman ended along with his term in Rajya Sabha during the budget session. He was re-elected to the Upper House from Bihar recently. In 2018, he defeated Congress leader BK Hariprasad by 20 votes. The election had revealed the schism in the Opposition camp.

Published on September 09, 2020

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