For once, Opposition and ruling party put aside differences to felicitate him

Cutting across party lines, members of the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday unanimously elected Congress leader P.J. Kurien Deputy Chairman of the House. He succeeds K. Rahman Khan.

The Opposition and ruling party members put off for a while their confrontation over the Comptroller and Auditor General report on coal block allocation — on which the House was adjourned during question hour — to allow the election of Mr. Kurien and subsequent felicitations by leaders of all parties.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also the leader of the House, proposed Mr. Kurien's name for the post. He was seconded by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley.

Mr. Kurien's name was also proposed by Shivanand Tiwari (Janata Dal-United), Motilal Vora and Karan Singh (both Congress), Dereck O’ Brien (Trinamool Congress), Javed Akhtar (Nominated) and Kanimozhi (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), and seconded by Naresh Agarwal (Samajwadi Party), Devender Goud (Telugu Desam Party), Praveen Rashtrapal (Congress), Ram Kripal Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal), D. Bandyopadhyay (Trinamool Congress), Anu Aga (Nominated) and Ram Kripal Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal).

After Chairman Hamid Ansari announced Mr. Kurien's election, the Prime Minister and Mr. Jaitley escorted him to his seat. Observing that Mr. Kurien’s election was unanimous, the Prime Minister said it was proof of the wide appreciation and support he enjoyed in the House. Lauding Mr. Kurien’s administrative experience, Dr. Singh said he had been conducting the proceedings with aplomb and assured him of cooperation “to the maximum extent possible.”

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