Vandana Chavan may be Opposition candidate for Rajya Sabha Dy Chairperson post

New Delhi: NCP’s Vandana Chavan is most likely to be the Opposition candidate in the election for the post of Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha but a final decision would be made after another round of meeting of the parties this evening.

After a second round of meeting on Tuesday, the Opposition concluded that Chavan would be able to get the support of all opposition parties and even a few of NDA allies.

“Though we would again meet but it’s almost finalised that Chavan of NCP would be the Opposition candidate,” said a senior opposition party leader. Most opposition parties raised no objection on Chavan’s name during the meeting.

Chavan, whose name was proposed by Bahujan Samaj Party leader Satish Chandra Mishra and seconded by TMC leader Derek O’Brien, received every opposition party’s support, including the Congress.

Congress, the largest opposition party with 50 seats in the upper house, feels its candidate may face strong resistance from some parties such as the TDP, which has decided to side with the Opposition camp on this matter.

Congress has said they are not putting up any candidate for this election and have expressed support for a consensus candidate from within the opposition camp.

According to senior opposition leaders, they felt during the meeting that an NCP candidate from Maharashtra will be able to get the support of Shiv Sena, an NDA ally. The Opposition camp believes the NCP would try to convince another NDA ally – the Shiromani Akali Dal – to vote for Chavan.

“SAD is not very pleased with NDA. They have good relations with NCP. If they vote for Chavan, it will certainly not be very easy for NDA,” the leader said. At present, both the camps are trying hard to get the numbers required to get their candidates elected to the post.

Some facts about the latest meeting:

  • Chavan, a lawmaker from Nationalist Congress Party, is a former Mayor of Pune.
  • At a parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday morning, the BJP discussed the election in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh. The government is counting on the support of the Shiv Sena, Akalis, AIADMK and K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which will give it 125 votes.
  • Rajya Sabha has a total of 245 seats, and to win, a candidate needs 123 votes, but any abstention will bring down the majority mark. If the Akalis (3 seats), Sena (3 seats) and Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (9 seats) abstain, the NDA numbers will be down to 110, when the majority mark will be 115, reports NDTV.
  • The opposition has 119 seats — including Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress. Aam Aadmi Party and Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP also hint at supporting the opposition candidate. The DMK is also expected to support the opposition.
  • The government’s choice is Harivansh Narayan Singh, a 62-year-old first-time lawmaker from Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United. He is a veteran journalist and a first-time parliamentarian.
  • The Akali Dal, longtime partner of the BJP in Punjab, is upset by the sudden switch in candidate for the Rajya Sabha post. For a long time, their partyman Naresh Gujral was said to be the front runner for the race.
  • “This morning Amit Shah called Uddhav Thackeray and asked for support. We will take a call on the issue an hour before the voting,” said Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut. The party, he said, will take into consideration whether a capable man has been fielded.

(With agency inputs)