The Opposition parties are likely to meet ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which begins July 18, to evolve a consensus on a joint candidate for the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman. The position fell vacant after the retirement of the incumbent PJ Kurien on 1st July.
According to reports, the meeting of opposition parties may be convened by Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha on July 16 or 17.
Though the Congress is the largest opposition party in the Upper House, sources say the principal opposition party is likely to yield space to the other opposition parties and wants a consensus to be evolved on the post.
“We will have our own strategy and then we will hold a strategy meeting with the opposition parties. We wish to evolve a consensus on the opposition candidate for the post. The opposition will meet soon and evolve its joint strategy in this regard,” Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma said.
Sharma, however, underlined that if it has to be an opposition candidate, “there is no way it can be without the Congress support”.
While no opposition meet has taken place, the name of Sukhendu Sekhar Roy of TMC is doing the rounds as a possible opposition candidate for the post.
The BJP and its allies are also not ready to give in and are likely to stake its claim on the post. Sources say the BJP may field a candidate of one of its allies and the name of Akali Dal member Naresh Gujral is doing the rounds.
As both the ruling and the opposition are seeking to take the post of deputy chairman, there could be an election to the post in case of absence of consensus between the two sides.
The meeting will also take up the key issues that will be raised by the opposition, including the rise in mob lynchings, law and order situation in the country, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, the rise in crimes against women, the Agrarian crisis and the issues concerning the state of Indian economy.
(With inputs from PTI)