New Delhi: Amidst talk of a contest between the opposition and the ruling NDA for the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, the government is also looking at the option of not going for an election for the post in the Monsoon Session of parliament beginning July 18, sources said.
They said that the issue came up for discussion at meetings held on Tuesday at the residence of Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also the leader of the House in Rajya Sabha.
The meetings were attended by BJP chief Amit Shah and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also attended one of the two meetings, sources said.
P.J. Kurien retired as the Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha on July 1 on completing his term in the Upper House.
Sources said that the Constitution does not specify a time period for electing Deputy Chairperson of the Upper House and the government was looking at the option of not going for an election in the coming session, as there have been precedents of a new Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman being chosen a few months after the incumbent retired.
The opposition is seen to have an edge if a contest is held for the post. Trinamool Congress member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy’s name has been doing the rounds as a possible candidate of the joint opposition.
There has been speculation that the BJP-led NDA could field Shiromani Akali Dal member Naresh Gujral as its candidate.
Sources said that the NDA would like to be sure of its numbers and not like to be defeated if there is a contest. They said chances of a consensus on the name of an opposition candidate were also remote as the post has gone to the members of the ruling party in the recent past.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu had earlier this month called for the ruling and opposition parties to build a consensus on the next Deputy Chairman of the House.