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Government Scores Easy Win Over Opposition In Rajya Sabha Test: Key Points
Date: Aug 09 2018 Submitted By:  

The government easily won the election for the post of the Rajya Sabha deputy chairman, as the opposition came up short in the contest that was seen as a test for its unity in the run-up to the 2019 national election. The government had 125 votes against opposition's 105.

In the gripping build-up over the last few days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah worked the phones and won over fence-sitters like Naveen Patnaik. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), upset at the opposition Congress, decided to stay out. With the battle expected be close, even Union minister Arun Jaitley, who was recuperating at home from surgery, came to parliament to vote.

Key Points
First-time lawmaker Harivansh Narayan Singh from Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United won the battle against the opposition candidate, Congress' BK Hariprasad.

Congratulating Harivansh Narayan Singh, a former journalist, PM Modi said, "Working closely with Chandra Shekhar ji, Harivansh ji knew in advance that Chandra Shekhar ji would resign. However, he did not let his own paper have access to this news. This shows his commitment to ethics and public service".

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "In elections, someone wins and someone loses. But the Deputy Chairman is no longer a part of any single party. He belongs to the country now."

The voting, which was expected to be close, was won with the nine crucial votes from the BJD. It was PM Modi's phonecall that helped Naveen Patnaik make up his mind to support the government, sources said.

On the other side, the absence of a phone call made Arvind Kejriwal decide to boycott the election. AAP sources said the party chief is upset that Rahul Gandhi did not call and ask for support.

"If Rahul Gandhi can hug Narendra Modi, why cannot he ask Arvind Kejriwal for support to his party's candidate," said Sanjay Singh, who is also leader of AAP's three-member team in the Rajya Sabha.

With assiduous effort over the last two days, the BJP managed to get the support of miffed allies Akali Dal and Shiv Sena. After indicating that it might stay out of the battle, the Sena said yesterday that it would go along with the NDA candidate, since the post was "apolitical".

The majority mark in the 244-member Rajya Sabha is 123, but abstentions pulled down the majority mark.

Besides Arvind Kejriwal's party, the YSR Congress and Mehbooba Mufti's PDP stayed out. Ms Mufti, whose alliance with the BJP ended recently, had initially indicated that she would support the opposition.

The opposition camp had the support of Trinamool Congress, DMK, Left parties, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Nationalist Congress Party. A recent addition was Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party, which exited the NDA earlier this year.

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