Five sets of applications proposing and seconding the two candidates had been submitted to the Rajya Sabha secretariat. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu took up the first set proposing Harivansh’s candidature that was moved by BJP Chief JP Nadda and seconded by Leader of the House Thawar Chand Gehlot.
Harivansh was elected by a voice vote as the opposition did not seek a division. Though Jha was backed by Congress, Left parties, TMC, DMK and others, the numbers were stacked in favour of the ruling coalition.
“Though names of two good candidates were proposed, only one can be elected,” Naidu said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who came to the House minutes after Harivansh was declared elected, heaped praise on the former journalist turned politician. Modi said Harivansh comes from a humble background and his identity is that of an honest social worker and journalist. He expressed the confidence that Harivansh will prove to be “Hari (Lord)” for both the Opposition and the government and will be impartial to the two sides.
Modi also underlined the past record of Harivansh as the Deputy Chairperson when in the last two years he had overseen the passage of very important legislations and contributed towards the impressive record of the Upper House increasing its “productivity” and positivity”.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad hailed Harivansh for doing justice to all sides and hoped he will listen to the principal opposition while chairing sessions. Derek O’Brien (TMC), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), Vijay Sai Reddy (YSRCP), Prasanna Acharya (BJD) and others also welcomed his election.
Manoj Jha emphasised that this was “not a matter between two individuals” and recited a couplet. Jha and Harivansh both have a socialist background and have worked together in the past.
Harivansh thanked the House for electing him and said he hails from a very poor family based in a village who never went to an English medium school.
He was deputy chairperson from August, 2018 to April, 2020 when his Rajya Sabha term ended. He has been re-elected for a six year term of the Upper House.
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