NDA likely to field JDU’s Harivansh for Rajya Sabha deputy chairman post

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The Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA is learnt to have decided to field JD(U) MP Harivansh as its nominee for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman polls scheduled to be held on August 9, news agency PTI reported citing sources. The election will be held at 11 AM on Thursday. Janata Dal (United) is the newest BJP ally in National Democratic Alliance and doesnt hold a cabinet berth as of now. Venkaiah Naidu, vice-president, and chairman of Rajya Sabha, had earlier suggested that the Deputy Chairman should be elected by consensus. However, the likely fielding of multiple candidates will necessitate voting for the post. As per the process, the nominees have to file papers before noon on August 8. The post of the Deputy Chairman has been lying vacant since June this year following the retirement of P J Kurien, who was elected to the Upper House of Parliament on a Congress ticket from Kerala. Harivansh, a journalist by profession, has been JD(U) Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament since 2014. He has been the editor of Prabhat Sabha newspaper. The election has been touted as a test of unity among the Opposition parties. For the BJP, its a battle of prestige ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019. The saffron party serves as the single largest party with 69 seats. The Congress, on the other hand, has 50 members. Both the prime parties are way behind the majority mark.