Govt relents on BJP pick, calls for consensus on Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson

NEW DELHI: The government is pushing for consensus for the post of deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha and may not insist on a BJP nominee given the composition of the House where it is now the largest party but still short of a majority.
With senior Congress leader PJ Kurien demitting office on July 1, discussions to find a replacement gathered steam and Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu urged the Centre and opposition parties to work together to find a “worthy successor” to Kurien.
There are indications that BJP could consider a nominee from an allied party like Akali Dal with the name of senior MP Naresh Gujral doing the rounds.

This might find support of opposition parties like BJD which may hold the balance in the House. Earlier proposals for a BJD nominee supported by non-NDA parties petered out as the Odisha party showed a disinterest in the prospect.

Hosting Kurien and several ministers and MPs at his residence, Naidu pushed for a “consensus candidate” for the office of deputy chairman, indicating he was keen to ensure that the sharp differences between the government and the opposition, which effectively disallowed Parliament to function over the last few sessions, do not force a contest.

Congress, on the other hand, may discuss the matter with UPA allies and other opposition parties. Though the parties have spoken of opposition unity,
Trinamool has pushed for a non-Congress choice. Sources said hectic parleys are expected over the next few days ahead of the start of the monsoon session on July 18.