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» » » » Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election to witness tight contest


The winning candidate needs 122 votes if all the 245 members vote. The Opposition has 117 votes, if one were to include six members of the former NDA ally TDP.
The first test of the combined strength of a newly united Opposition, with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in tow, will be the election of a new Deputy Chairperson for the Rajya Sabha, a post that will fall vacant on June 30 with the end of incumbent P.J. Kurien’s term.

The Trinamool Congress, which has been lobbying for the key position in the Opposition coalition, is likely to float a candidate and canvass support from other parties.

Deciding votes
The numbers situation is, interestingly, quite evenly poised between the Opposition and the Treasury benches, with the deciding votes being held in the hands of undecided parties like the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) with nine votes, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) with six votes and the YSRCP with two members.

The winning candidate needs 122 votes if all the 245 members vote.

The Opposition has 117 votes, if one were to include six members of the former NDA ally TDP.

The BJP is the leading party in the Rajya Sabha at present with 69 members. Together with allies, independent members and nominated ones they have around 115 votes (depending on which way independent members like Amar Singh go and the inclusion of 13 votes of the AIADMK).

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman election to witness tight contest

The Opposition’s numbers include three Rajya Sabha seat vacancies being filled at the end of June from Kerala, with two going to the Left Front and one to the Congress.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, spooked by the BJP’s aggressive efforts to expand on his turf, has been talking about building a non-BJP, non-Congress third front. While talking of the third front, he has been giving mixed signals — he skipped the swearing-in ceremony in Karnataka, claiming that he does not want to share stage with the Congress. His party was also not represented at any of the State Finance Ministers’ meetings on the 15th Finance Commission.

“His primary problem is with the Congress. So if there is a non-Congress candidate, the Opposition can swing his support,” said an Opposition member in the Rajya Sabha.

The BJD, with its policy of equidistance from the BJP and the Congress, stayed away from the Opposition’s show of strength in Bengaluru, but has, in the past, voted with the BJP on crucial legislations. The AIADMK, too, has similarly supported the BJP in the past.

The YSRCP says it hasn’t made up its mind, although the party blames the TDP far more than the BJP on the issue of denial of Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.

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