New Delhi: Ruling NDA candidate and JD(U) member Harivansh was today elected as the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, securing 125 votes as against 105 polled by opposition candidate BK Hariprasad. The post of the deputy chairman was lying vacant since the retirement of P J Kurien on July 1.
The entire House congratulated Harivansh with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad felicitating him. The nomination of Harivansh was proposed by Ram Prasad Singh and BJP President Amit Shah among others.
Jaitley, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar and Senior Congress leader Azad accompanied Harivansh to the seat designated for the Deputy Chairman in the House, which is next to that of the Leader of Opposition.
The Prime Minister congratulated Harivansh on his election. Jaitley, who is recuperating after a renal transplant, attended the house after a long gap. Speaking on the occasion, Modi talked about achievements of Harivansh, a journalist for about four decades.
Hoping that Harivansh would do justice to all members of the House, Modi in a lighter vein said the situation in the House is such that the umpire faces more problems than players. Modi said Harivansh was offered a job by the Reserve Bank of India but he did not take it. He said while the outcome of the election was known, yet there was a contest as per procedures and the new members got training on how to vote in the House.
Earlier, Leader of Opposition Azad hoped that the new Deputy Chairman would give enough opportunities to opposition members to raise their issues. He said Harivansh has done a lot of work for promotion of Hindi language.
Jaitley said Harivansh never made personal attacks on anyone and hoped as Deputy Chairman he would further better the discourse in the House. Modi, Azad and several other MPs welcomed Jaitley for attending the House after the transplant. Azad advised Jaitley to take some more rest.
Harivansh later presided over the proceedings of the House and was applauded with thumping of desks by members. Soon thereafter he adjourned the House till 2 PM.