Filing his nomination for the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, Opposition candidate Manoj K Jha of the RDJ has written to his fellow parliamentarians appealing for their support. He writes that it is time they stand up and be counted as this election is “about two different versions of our democracy,” and not about mere numbers.
His letter is crucial, as it is not just for the post he is contenting, but also a message for the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has begun preparing for the elections in full steam. For the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman’s post, BJP-led NDA has nominated JD(U)’s Harivansh, reported the Indian express. Harivansh was also the last person to hold the post.
Jha writes, “It is the collective wish of the opposition that this election may not be seen as a contest for power to legislate at the level of the Union government. It should also not be seen as a contest between two individuals. In view of the great parliamentary tradition, this election is about two different versions of our parliamentary democracy: one, which only sees it as a numbers game, and the other, which places importance on critique, discussion, and consensus building in the interest of our country and its people.”
He further notes, “Rajya Sabha is the House in which the state legislatures are represented. Therefore, the Upper House of the Parliament is also the forum for articulation of federal concerns at the Centre. I am requesting your support not simply to win an election but to make a strong statement in favour of an accountable system of governance. A system in which regional parties that have formed state governments do not have to depend on quid pro quo with the party in power at the Centre just to maintain a non-adversarial federal state-Union relationship.”
The election for the post of deputy chairperson, stated the IE, is scheduled for September 14 — the first day of business in the Covid-affected session of Parliament. Jha has said this is a chance for MPs to “stand up and be counted in front of the people of this country”.
He added the impact his election may have on the federal State-Union relationship, stating “I am requesting your support not simply to win an election but to make a strong statement in favour of an accountable system of governance. A system in which regional parties that have formed State governments do not have to depend on quid pro quo with the party in power at the Centre just to maintain a non-adversarial, federal State-Union relationship.”
The Hindu reports that the election is heavily tilted in favour of the ruling coalition’s candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh, he was Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman till his previous term ended in April. He has since been re-elected to the Upper house from Bihar. In elections held in August 2018, he had defeated Congress leader B.K. Hariprasad, and won by 125 votes to 105 votes. And according to The Hindu, this time around the ruling coalition is in a far better position with BJP leaders claiming the support of 140 members.
The letter may be read here: