NEW DELHI – The Opposition has finalised the name of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha as its joint candidate for the Deputy Chairman post in the Rajya Sabha and he will file his nomination on Friday, top sources said.
Manoj Jha confirmed the development and said, “Yes, I am filing the papers”.
Congress sources said party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has also spoken to like-minded parties, including the Samajwadi Party.
The development comes after the DMK leadership showed its reluctance to field Tiruchi Siva as the opposition’s joint candidate. The choice of the RJD leader is significant since the NDA candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh and Manoj Jha are both from Bihar. This will set the tone for the Assembly elections in Bihar, slated to be held later this year.
Sources said the Congress wants the election to be an ‘opposition versus government’ and not a ‘Congress vs BJP’ contest to unite the opposition and corner the government in the Upper House, where the ruling alliance now has the upper hand.
Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has already had a word with Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Naveen Patnaik for supporting Singh. But Patnaik’s assurance is awaited, said sources.
The election to the Deputy Chairperson’s post will be held on September 14, the day the Monsoon Session of Parliament begins. The election will be held at 3 p.m. and nominations will be accepted till noon on September 11.
The post fell vacant after Janata Dal (United) MP Harivansh Narayan Singh’s term in the Upper House expired. He has re-elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Bihar after defeating Congress leader B. K. Hariprasad.