New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance’s candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh of the Janata Dal (United) on Thursday was elected as the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday defeating Congress leader and the UPA-led united opposition candidate BK Hariprasad by 20 votes.
A former editor of Hindi daily ‘Prabhat Khabar’ and a first-time member of Rajya Sabha, Harivansh got the support of 125 members while Hariprasad got 105 votes.
Congratulating Harivansh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Working closely with Chandra Shekhar ji, Harivansh ji knew in advance that Chandra Shekhar ji would resign. However, he did not let his own paper have access to this news. This shows his commitment to ethics and public service”.
In his address, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that in elections, someone wins and someone loses. But the Deputy Chairman is no longer a part of any single party. He belongs to the country now.
The BJD played a decisive role in the victory of Harivansh after the Prime Minister and BJP National President Amit Shah spoke to the party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over phone on this matter.
“Biju Janata Dal is supporting the JD(U) since JD(U) and BJD has similar ideological origins emerging from the Jay Prakash Narayan movement. The Congress candidate was AICC in-charge of Odisha till recently and was vitriolic in his statements against the BJD and the state,” said a BJD release just before the voting began in the upper house.
On Tuesday, Naveen had turned down the request of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar for support to the opposition’s candidate telling him that he had already told Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar that he would support Harivansh.
The opposition camp had the support of Trinamool Congress, DMK, Left parties, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and NCP and the Telugu Desam Party, which had withdrawn its support from the NDA earlier this year.