Here is all you need to know about the Rajya sabha Deputy Chairman elections which are scheduled to be conducted at 11am in the Upper House today.
The Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman elections is yet another platform for the Opposition parties to exhibit their unity after the fiasco of the no-confidence motion held in the Lok Sabha last month. Not only the Opposition, but even the NDA government will get an opportunity of identifying its loyal allies from the sulking/estranged ones.
The post of the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman has been vacant since the retirement of PJ Kurien in June this year. Kurien was elected to the post on a Congress ticket from Kerala.
When will the election be held?
Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu announced in the House that the election will be held on August 9 at 11 am – the second last day of the Monsoon Session. He also proposed that the deputy chairman be elected by consensus.
What are the guidelines to be followed by the MPs (Members of Parliament)?
Article 89 of the Constitution of India directs that the vacancy for the post of Deputy Chairman be filled at the earliest.
In the absence of a deputy chairman in the Upper House, the Chairman may nominate not more than six vice-chairpersons from the members of the council, as per Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Rajya Sabha.
What is the procedure for this election?
For the purpose of nominating a candidate for the post of deputy chairman, any Rajya Sabha MP can submit a motion proposing the name of a colleague. The candidate nominated by a fellow colleague needs to sign a declaration stating that she/he is willing to serve as the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. This declaration needs to be submitted along with the motion.
The motion is to be seconded by another MP. Each MP is allowed to move or second only one motion.
Valid motions are taken up in the House on the previous day. If there are valid motions that propose the name of more than one candidate, then the House will decide by majority as to who will be elected for the constitutional post. However, in the case political parties arrive at a consensus candidate, then the Deputy Chairman will be elected unanimously. On 14 of the 19 elections for the post since 1952, there was no contest in the election.
The current strength of the Rajya Sabha is 244. This implies that in case of a full house, the support of at least 123 MPs will be needed to prove majority.
Who are in line for the Deputy Chairman this time?
The NDA (National Democratic Alliance) has fielded JD(U) MP from Bihar, Harivansh Narayan Singh, for the post. Singh is a former journalist and the former editor-in chief of Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar. He was one of the three JD(U) MPs elected unopposed from Bihar in 2014.
Meanwhile, various media reports have suggested that Congress MP Hariprasad is the likely candidate of the Opposition. Earlier news reports had also suggested that NCP MP Vandana Chavan was the likely choice of the Opposition; but she had told the Press that “nothing has been decided so far”.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said that five sets of nomination papers (5 proposers and 5 seconders) were filed by the combined Opposition, The Indian Express has reported.
The names of DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, nominated member K T S Tulsi and BJD’s Prasanna Acharya was also doing the rounds.
What do the numbers indicate?
A lot depends on the fence sitters in this election. While the K Chandrashekhar Rao’s TRS is most likely to support the NDA, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP is certain to vote against it.
The Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal have extended their full support to the NDA candidate.
Meanwhile, Naveen Patnaik-led BJD announced this morning that it will support the NDA's candidate. In a statement, the party said, "BJD has decided to support JD(U) since the JD(U) and BJD have similar ideological origins- emerging from the Jay Prakash Narayan movement".
The NDA has claimed that it has the support of at least 129 MPs, while the Congress said that their candidate Hariprasad is expected to get at least 121 votes. The magic number is 123 in the case of a full house.
What is at stake?
The NDA which is in minority in the Upper House will be keen on having the Deputy Chairman elected from their party, for easy passage of crucial bills ahead of the Lok Sabha 2019 elections.The Opposition, on the other hand, having faced a setback once, will traed carefully in order to retain their position. The Congress had already burnt its fingers when the JD(U) had withdrawn from the alliance in order to side with the NDA ahead of the Vice President elections.