The Aam Aadmi Party has decided to “boycott” the election to the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman to be held on Thursday.
Party MP Sanjay Singh said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal rejected his Bihar counterpart and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar’s request to support the NDA nominee, Harivansh Narayan Singh, in the election as he has the backing of the BJP.
“Nitish Kumarji called up Arvind Kejriwalji and sought AAP support for his party’s candidate. As it is not possible to vote for BJP-backed JD-U candidate,” Singh said.
He added that since Congress President Rahul Gandhi has not sought AAP’s support for the opposition’s candidate, the Kejriwal-led party “has no option but to boycott the poll tomorrow”.
“If Rahul Gandhiji does not need our support for his party’s candidate, the Aam Aadmi Party has no option but to skip voting,” he added.
Hariprasad, a Congress MP from Karnataka, is the opposition’s candidate for the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson.
AAP has hinted that its MPs will cast their vote for Congress if they get a phone call from party president Rahul Gandhi.
“If Rahul Gandhi can hug Narendra Modi, why cannot he ask Arvind Kejriwal to support his party’s candidate?” Singh asked.
“If they (the Congress) ask for our vote, we will oblige. It is meaningless to vote compulsively (for the Congress), if they do not need it,” Singh told reporters.
If the AAP abstains from voting for the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman on Thursday, it will bring down opposition numbers in the Upper House.
The AAP has three MPs from Delhi in the Rajya Sabha.
Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president Naveen Patnaik finally revealed his cards and said on Wednesday his party would support the NDA candidate.
“We will support Janata Dal-United candidate for the Rajya Sabha post,” the Chief Minister told reporters.
He confirmed that he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah a few days earlier regarding the election.
The BJD support is important as both the UPA and NDA don’t have a majority in the upper house. The BJD has nine MPs in the Rajya Sabha.
The Shiv Sena had already confirmed its support to the NDA candidate.
(With agency inputs)