Bhubaneswar, August 7, 2018: Bihar Chief Minister and JD-U leader Nitish Kumar on Tuesday sought the support of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for his party MP Harivansh Narayan Singh in the election for Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Notably, Patnaik had sought Nitish Kumar’s support when BJD supported PA Sangma as Presidential candidate. However, JD-U had then supported UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee.
The BJD has nine members in the Rajya Sabha. A party would require at least 122 votes to win the Deputy Chairman election in the House with a total member of 245. The BJP is currently the largest party in the Upper House with 73 members. And with its allies and supporting parties, which includes the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS), the number will be 102 votes.
Nitish Kumar telephoned BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and informed him that Harivansh will be contesting the election as the candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
He urged the BJD supremo to extend support to Singh.
According to sources, Patnaik told Nitish Kumar that he will take a decision after consultation with party leaders.
The Deputy Chairman will be elected on August 9. The post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman has become vacant after the term of PJ Kurien ended on June 30.
Now, speculations are rife over Patnaik’s decision as he had earlier emphasised on maintaining equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP.