Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik twice seeking the support of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in favour of the NDA nominee Harivansh Narayan Singh in the election for the post of Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
"It is likely that the BJD will support the NDA candidate rather than remain neutral", www.jharkhandstatenews.com has learnt from Bhubneshwar this evening.
If BJD MPs voted in favour of the NDA nominee Harivansh, a number of changes can be visible in the national and regional politics. One, Harivansh can win the election slated to be held on Thursday. Two, the BJD can be backing the ruling NDA in the forthcoming general elections in 2019. This can add strength to the NDA led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Alongside, the Opposition has backed the Congress MP BK Hariprasad as their joint candidate. The post of Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha has been vacant since the retirement of PJ Kurien in June.
Though BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is yet to open his cards, senior leaders of the party indicated that after Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked to him twice, Patnaik was keeping his mouth shut-"But we have reasons to believe that he may direct BJD MPs to vote in favour of the NDA candidate",said a senior BJD leader.
In any case,the election to the post of deputy chairman is set to be a litmus test for opposition parties led by the Congress as it is eying to retain the position. The fact is despite being the single largest party, the BJP lacks a majority.
All now depends on the support of regional parties including BJD, AIADMK, TRS and YSR Congress. So far Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena have indicated that their MPs can vote for the Harivansh.
Table: Rajya Sabha numbers, party wise
|Rajya Sabha Strength||245|
|Aam Aadmi Party||03|
|Bahujan Samaj Party||04|
|Communist Party of India||02|
|Communist Party of India (M)||05|
|Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam||04|
|Indian Union Muslim League||01|
|Kerala Congress (M)||01|
|Nationalist Congress Party||04|
|Rashtriya Janata Dal||05|
|Telegu Desam Party||06|