Opposition parties to contest Rajya Sabha deputy chairman election

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New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) Opposition parties are set to contest the election to Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman’s post on August 9 and have decided to meet on Tuesday to finalise the candidate.

A meeting of opposition parties was held in the chamber of Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad in Parliament House on Monday which was attended by TDP, which had parted ways with the BJP earlier this year.

The meeting was also attended by Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Ahmed Patel and Kapil Sibal, Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, BJP’s Satish Chandra Misra, NCP’s Praful Patel, RJD’s Misa Bharti, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, CPI-M’s T.K. Rangarajan, CPI’s D. Raja, RSP’s N. K. Premachandran and TDP’s C. M. Ramesh.

None of the leaders spoke after the meeting but a leader said on the condition of anonymity that no names were discussed.

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Among the names doing the rounds as possible opposition candidates are NCP’s Vandana Chavan and DMK’s Tiruchi Siva.

The election is likely to be a tight affair as the opposition bloc has an edge over the BJP-led NDA in terms of numbers. The outcome will depend on the stance of parties such as BJD, AIADMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and YSRC Party–which could ally with the government in certain situations.

Opposition sources said that there were 35 “fence sitters” and the outcome will depend on their stance.

The two large parties in the upper house–BJP and Congress–are unlikely to put up a candidate.

The parties which would support an opposition nominee include the Congress (50), TMC (14), SP (13), TDP (6), CPI-M (5), CPI (2), DMK (4), NCP (4), AAP (3), BSP (4), RJD (5), PDP (2), JD-S (1), Nominated (1), Kerala Congress-Mani (1) and IUML (1).

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Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu had on Monday announced that the new Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman will be elected on August 9.

The post of the Deputy Chairman fell vacant after P.J. Kurien retired in July.

The election will be held a day before the conclusion of the monsoon session of Parliament.

–IANS

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