Opposition parties may put together a joint candidate for the post of deputy chairman in the Rajya Sabha. The Congress party’s parliament strategy group met on Tuesday (September 8) and decided to reach out to other opposition parties and finalise a consensus candidate.
The Congress on Tuesday deliberated upon its plans for the upcoming monsoon session and concluded that the election of deputy speaker be treated a part of its strategy.
The meeting of the party’s parliament strategy group was chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and attended by Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh, KC Venugopal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi, K Suresh, Manickam Tagore and Ravneet Singh Bittu.
The Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson’s post fell vacant after Janata Dal (United) MP Harivansh retired in April this year.
Covid-19 pandemic prevented the reelection of the deputy speaker during the budget session of the Lok Sabha which ended in March.
This is an exceptional situation especially since in the last four terms of the house, the post was occupied within a few months of the constitution of the new Lok Sabha. PM Sayeed of the Congress was the deputy chairperson in December 1999, a few months later Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister as a candidate of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
In 2004, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) formed a government and Charanjit Singh Atwal of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) assumed the post within two months.
BJP leader Kariya Munda was elected to the post in 2009, again within two months. In 2014, after Narendra Modi became the PM, the NDA offered the post to the AIADMK and its leader M Thambidurai was unanimously elected deputy speaker in August within months.
The deputy speaker presides over the Lok Sabha when the speaker is absent from house. In the current Lok Sabha, in the absence of speaker Om Birla, members of a panel of chairpersons preside over the House.
The last date for filing nomination for Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson’s post is September 11.
The truncated monsoon session of parliament starts on September 14.