The Congress may have convinced ally NCP to support P J Kurien for the post of deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, but the opposition may spring a surprise by fielding a candidate.
With Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari approving the poll schedule for the post on August 21, Kurien is expected to file his nominations Friday.
Initially, the UPA itself was a divided house. NCP chief and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had opposed the idea of making Kurien deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha because of an old grouse. But, it seems, Kurien has settled that matter. “He’s a tall leader and a senior politician who will not make an issue out of a minor election,’’ Kurien said of Pawar.
But the opposition may not be willing to let the post go without a contest. The BJP’s chief whip in Rajya Sabha, Ravi
Shankar Prasad, said, “We are looking at all options. If one of the regional parties puts up a candidate against Kurien we are likely to extend support to him or her.’’
But a bit fatigued after its exertions in the presidential and vice-presidential polls, BJP is unlikely to put up a candidate. It is hoping that the AIADMK or the TDP will do the needful.
AIADMK sources, however, declined to comment on the issue because “there’s still time’’ and “no instructions have come from our leader.’’