The election for the post of Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha is likely to be postponed till the next session of Parliament. The ongoing monsoon session is going to conclude on 10 August, but so far, there has been no initiative from the ruling dispensation in this regard. The post got vacant last month after P.J. Kurien retired.
The ruling BJP had held discussions with the Opposition before the start of the monsoon session. Vice President and Chairman, Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu had suggested that both the ruling dispensation and Opposition should sit together and finalise a candidate through consensus. However, there was no breakthrough.
The Opposition is trying to make the election an opportunity to show that it stands united. They want that the candidates should be from their camp. However, it has been a tradition and not the rule. There have been instances when both Chairman and Deputy Chairman were from the same party—Congress. The BJP, too, does not want to hand over the post to the Opposition, but it does not have a majority in the Upper House. A BJP source said the government has two options. If it gives the post to the Opposition, the candidate should be via consensus, who will have a better understanding with the government. However, so far, the government has not been able to identify such a face. As part of the second option, the government may give the post to someone from the ruling BJP or National Democratic Alliance (NDA). But the government fears that it may not get the majority if it pushes such a candidate. The source said, since both options are not workable at the moment, the election may be postponed till the next session. In a meeting a few days ago, the floor leaders of all political parties recommended that a panel of chairpersons should be made to share the responsibility. The current strength of the Rajya Sabha is 244. BJP, with 73 MPs, is the largest party.