On August 9th an important election is going to take place in the Rajya Sabha for the post of Deputy Chairman of the House. Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu announced on Monday that the elections will take place a day prior to the end of the ongoing monsoon session of the Parliament. Naidu said, “The members can give their notice of motion till August 8, by 12 noon,” following which the elections would be held at 11 am on the following day. The elections became imminent after P J Kurien of the Congress retired from the position on 30th June. The elections for the Deputy Chairman post will be watched closely by both the Bharatiya Janata Party which would like its candidate to sit on the post while Congress would like to retain its position in the house. BJP has tried to appear as the large hearted party and tried to show its unity with its NDA allies by nominating Janata Dal (United) MP Harivansh Narayan Singh as the candidate for the Rajya Sabha post.
Congress is likely to face tough opposition from its allies who want to grab the position for themselves and an infighting within its allies is likely to emerge. Congress giving up the Deputy Chairman position for a smaller party would also signal its acceptance as a second tier party in the united opposition. The clear winner from this situation would be BJP as by offering the seat to JDU it has signalled its intent towards Nitish Kumar that the alliance is not under any threat from their side. BJP also does not have a majority in the Rajya Sabha and offering up the position to JDU also sends a clear message of unity to the opposition. Rumours surrounding Nitish Kumar leaving NDA and joining hands with Congress or other parties to will die an early death following this brilliant move by the BJP which signals that there is no issue over seat sharing or other small matters between the two parties. The nomination of a MP from Bihar will also help BJP’s prospects in the state during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This gesture favouring a MP from Bihar will be reciprocated with popular support in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
But perhaps the most important message this move manages to send is that BJP is not looking to take away the individuality of regional parties once they join the NDA. A proportionate representation will be guaranteed to all the other parties which are keen to join the ranks of NDA. This is a surprise move for the Congress as well as the other parties. The BJP has shown that it is perfectly willing to accommodate the smaller parties. This might be the first of the many surprises which BJP has planned to dish out in the elections. If the NDA manages to clinch the position of Deputy Chairman in Rajya Sabha it will be a big win considering the opposition is in majority in the house as of now. A win for the NDA and BJP would mean that there is a definite dissent between the opposition and their unity will come under serious questioning. Through a highly planned move BJP has ensured tensions for the opposition and has given a reaffirming boost to its allies from the NDA.