NEW DELHI: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has called for reaching out to other like-minded opposition parties to put up a joint candidate for the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman for elections scheduled on September 14.
The post fell vacant after the tenure of JD (U) MP Harivansh expired in April this year. He has been re-elected to the house from Bihar and is expected to be the NDA’s candidate for the post while the name of DMK MP Tiruchi Siva has been doing rounds as the opposition candidate. The election will be held on the first day of the monsoon session starting September 14. The budget session was called off in March due to Covid-19.
He was elected as the Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson after Congress MP PJ Kurien tenure ended in August 2018. Harivansh had defeated senior Congress leader BK Hariprasad, who was the joint opposition candidate, by bagging 125 votes against 105 by latter.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Parliament Strategy Group of the Congress chaired by Sonia. She has asked Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad to reach out to other opposition parties for fielding a joint opposition candidate. The last date for filing nomination for the post is September 11.
According to sources, the name of the joint candidate will be decided after consultations with the opposition parties, and a meeting is also scheduled mid-week.
The meeting was attended by Rahul Gandhi, Azad, Anand Sharma, A K Antony, Ahmed Patel, K C Venugopal, Jairam Ramesh, Mallikarjun Kharge, party leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, party’s chief whip in upper house K Suresh, Manish Tewari, Gaurav Gogoi, Manickam Tagore, and Ravneet Singh Bittu.
The post of Deputy Speaker in Lok Sabha has been lying vacant since May last year when Lok Sabha was reconstituted post-elections.