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Rajya Sabha to see a close fight in Deputy Chairperson election

Former cricketer Kapil Dev, who is tipped to get a Rajya Sabha nomination, with BJP president Amit Shah.

Former cricketer Kapil Dev, who is tipped to get a Rajya Sabha nomination, with BJP president Amit Shah.   | Photo Credit: PTI

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BJP to go all out to win the post in the monsoon session.

The monsoon session of Parliament, to be held between July 18 and August 10, will see the first test of Opposition unity before the 2019 Lok Sabha poll in the election of new Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.

The BJP, determined not to let the Opposition win the post, has said that to shore up its numbers, the Treasury benches will ensure that all four vacant seats of members nominated to the House by the President will be filled before the session begins.

‘10-12 names’

“A list of 10-12 names is under active consideration, including film star Madhuri Dixit and former cricket captain Kapil Dev,” said a senior office-bearer of the BJP. Marathi playwright Babasaheb Purandare, who wrote Zhanta Raja on the life of Maratha king Shivaji, is also in the fray. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in several meetings with BJP MPs, exhorted them to watch the play.

Ms. Dixit and Mr. Dev have both received visits by BJP president Amit Shah in the ongoing ‘Sampark for Samarthan’ campaign among influencers. Ms. Dixit is also the brand ambassador of flagship social sector programme of the NDA government ''Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.'' The terms of former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, actor Rekha and industrialist Anu Agha ended a couple of months ago, and lawyer K. Parasaran’s term, under the same category, is set to end on June 29.

“Whoever is nominated, you can be sure that there would be a firm message, political or social, embedded in the name,” said the source. As for who would be the Treasury’s nominee for Deputy Chairperson, mum seems to be the word. “In the BJP, you never know,” said the source.

The BJP is the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha, but with the exit of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the ranks of the Opposition have swelled. While the party is counting on new ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U) to fill the breach, unless the three parties equidistant from both the Treasury and Opposition, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) show their hand, the contest will be tough to predict.

18 sittings

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said that the election to the Deputy Chairperson’s post will take place during the session, which is going to have 18 sittings in all. “Legislation to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), the Triple Talaq Bill and the Transgender Bill will come up in this session,” he said.

“We want constructive engagement with the Opposition and are ready to discuss anything,” he added.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:39:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajya-sabha-to-see-close-fight/article24255955.ece

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