The BJP-led NDA's candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh was on Thursday elected new Rajya Sabha (RS) deputy chairman with 125 votes. The UPA's candidate, Congress MP BK Hariprasad, got 105 votes.
"I congratulate Harivansh ji on behalf of the whole house. He has been blessed with the talent of writing. He was also a favourite of former PM Chandra Shekhar ji," said PM Narendra Modi, right after the results.
Harivansh is a JD(U) Parliamentarian from Bihar and a former journalist. Hariprasad is Congress MP from Karnataka.
National Democratic Alliance candidate and Janata Dal (United) Member of Parliament Harivansh Narayan Singh was elected chairperson of the Rajya Sabha despite it not having a majority on its own.
Interestingly, Singh - a parliamentarian since 2014 - is the journalist who reported the story of Mountain Man Dashrath Manjhi’s story, Mint has reported.
Manjhi, who passed away in 2007, is known for carving out a path 110 m long through a hillock using only a hammer. After leaving home at an early age, he spent 22 years of his life carving out the path to shorten the distance between his village and the nearest town from 55 km to less than 15 km.
Addressing the house after Singh’s election to the deputy chief’s post, Prime Minister Narendra Modi heaped praise on him for his work as a journalist. Modi reminded the members that Singh, in his early days as a journalist, ran a newspaper column on how an ideal parliamentarian should be.
"He (Harivansh) has been blessed with the talent of writing. He was also a favourite of former PM Chandra Shekhar ji," said Modi. "He was a journalist, was associated with a newspaper. But not a whiff did he give to his newspaper (about the impending resignation of Chandra Shekhar in March 1991 ). He (Harivansh) maintained the dignity of the (PM's) office," the Prime Minister said.
From 1991 to 2016, Singh was the editor of Prabhat Khabar, a popular Hindi daily based in Ranchi from June 1991 to June 2016. An accomplished writer, Singh has penned and edited at least 11 books.
After NDA candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh was elected new Rajya Sabha (RS) deputy chairman on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "now, we are all Hari 'bharose'" (Now, we all depend on Hari). The PM was full of praise for the new RS deputy chairman who is a former journalist.
The RS deputy chairman post fell vacant after the retirement of Congress' PJ Kurien on July 1.
Following the failed no-confidence motion against the government in the Lok Sabha last month, the contest for the post of RS deputy chairman was being seen as the next big test of opposition unity.
In nominating a JD(U) candidate, the BJP was attempting to reach out to its allies who have been complaining about being left out.
The lack of majority in the Rajya Sabha has been a big problem for the BJP. Now, of course, it's advantageous for the BJP to have its candidate win because the chairman (Venkaiah Naidu) and his deputy in the RS will both be its choices.
The BJD (with nine seats) on Wednesday threw its weight behind BJP-led NDA in the election for the deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha giving the ruling coalition a clear edge.
"BJD is supporting JD(U) since JD (U) and BJD have similar ideological origins-emerging from Jay Prakash Narayan movement. Congress candidate was AICC in-charge of Odisha till recently and was vitriolic in his statements against BJD and state," said the BJD in a statement to news agency ANI, just before voting began in the RS.
On Wednesday, BJP national chief Amit Shah, Sanjay Raut, leader of BJP’s restive ally Shiv Sena, Akali Dal’s S S Dhindsa and JD (U)’s RCP Singh submitted four sets of papers in support of Harivansh.
*Congress MP Hariprasad’s candidature, on the other hand, was backed by BSP’s Satish Mishra, NCP’s Vandana Chavan, Congress’s Anand Sharma, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav and RJD’s Misa Bharati.