Opposition parties seem to have finalised the name of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Vandana Chavan as a joint candidate for election to the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman to be held on Thursday.
The NDA has already decided to field JD(U) MP and Nitish Kumar aide Harivansh for the post.
Chavan, who has been a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, is a second-time Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra.
The floor leaders of the opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha met on Tuesday afternoon in Parliament to decide on the final name of the nominee.
The meeting of opposition parties to finalise their strategy and decide the name of their candidate was held in the chamber of Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azadon Monday and they decided to meet again on Tuesday to finalise its candidate.
On Monday, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had announced that the election for the deputy chairman’s post would be held at 11 AM on August 9.
The nomination papers will have to be filed before noon on Wednesday.
Talking to reporters, NDA’s nominee Harivansh said on Monday, “I got to know through the media that I am NDA’s candidate for the post of Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. I express my gratitude to the parties in the NDA. I am hopeful that I will succeed.”
Harivansh, a first-timer in the Upper House and a former Editor of Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar, said there should be a consensus on high constitutional posts and urged opposition parties to work in that direction.
The election is likely to be a close affair as the opposition bloc has an edge over the BJP-led NDA in terms of numbers.
The outcome will depend on the stance of parties such as BJD, AIADMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and YSRC Party, could ally with the government in certain situations.
Opposition sources said there were 35 “fence-sitters” and the outcome would depend on their stance.
The parties that are likely to support an opposition nominee include the Congress (50), TMC (14), SP (13), TDP (6), CPI-M (5), CPI (2), DMK (4), NCP (4), AAP (3), BSP (4), RJD (5), PDP (2), JD-S (1), Nominated (1), Kerala Congress-Mani (1) and IUML (1).
The post of the deputy chairman has been lying vacant since June this year, following the retirement of P J Kurien, who had been elected to the Upper House of Parliament on a Congress ticket from Kerala.
(With agency inputs)