Opposition set to pick its candidate for RS Dy Chairman poll today

PTI

Rajya Sabha, File Photo

Rajya Sabha, File Photo

The Opposition will decided on its candidate for Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman poll later today. The poll is scheduled to take place on August 9, at 11 am.

The ruling NDA has already decided on JD(U) MP Harivansh Narayan Singh as its candidate.

Hours after Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu announced the date for election to the post, almost all opposition parties held a meeting where they decided to field a common candidate for the contest in the Upper House, where the BJP-led ruling alliance lacks majority.

A senior leader who attended the deliberations said all those present were told to discuss the issue within their respective parties and come up with suggestions for a common candidate when the opposition meets again on Tuesday. It is learnt that the Congress was open to supporting a nominee from any opposition party.

The Opposition has often prevailed on the government in the numbers game in the Rajya Sabha but the BJP is hopeful that it can get the better of its rivals with the support of regional parties like the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and YSR Congress- all of whom have lent support to it now and then.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu announced in the House that the election will be held at 11 am on August 9.

He also suggested that the deputy chairman should be elected by consensus. The nomination papers will have to be filed before noon on August 8.

The post of the deputy chairman has been lying vacant since June this year following the retirement of P J Kurien, who had been elected to the Upper House of Parliament on a Congress ticket from Kerala.

The current strength of the Rajya Sabha is 244 and support of 123 members would be needed for a win in the full House.

The BJP is the largest party in the House with 73 members.  Its allies JD(U), Shiv Sena, Akali Dal have 6, 3, 3 respectively.

Besides the nominated and independent members affiliated to it, the BJP is banking on the support of 13, nine, six and two members of the AIADMK, BJD, TRS, YSR Congress respectively, its floor managers said.

The Congress has 50 members.

(With inputs from PTI)