NDA nominee Harivansh Narayan Singh was on Monday re-elected as the deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu declared Harivansh elected after a motion moved by BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda, and seconded by Leader of the House Thaawarchand Gehlot, was carried by a voice vote.
Opposition parties led by the Congress and the DMK had moved motions for electing RJD's Manoj Kumar Jha but these were not put to vote as they did not press for it. Leaders of various parties greeted Harivansh, the nominee of the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, on his election.
The Janata Dal (United) leader received lavish praise from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said Harivansh belongs to all sides of the aisle. "He has conducted proceedings in an impartial manner. He has been an outstanding umpire and will continue being so in the times to come," Modi said.
Modi said Harivansh has in his first term made efforts to ensure productivity and positivity in Parliament. "He is a torchbearer of democracy, hailing from Bihar, a land known for its democratic ethos" and that has close links "with JP, Karpoori Thakur and Bapu's Champaran Satyagraha".
In 2018, Harivansh had defeated Congress' BK Hariprasad in the election to the post. "Be it as a journalist or social worker, he has endeared himself to many. We have all seen the manner in which he conducts the House proceedings," Modi said.
The election was necessitated as Harivansh completed his term as a member of Rajya Sabha this year. "He has earned the respect which I and other members have for him. His unbiased role in Parliament strengthens our democracy, the PM said. Modi said Parliament has been convened in difficult circumstances that were never seen before due to COVID-19.
"It is our duty that House discharges its role for the nation," he said and urged the members to cooperate with the presiding officers in running the proceedings properly.
He said "as Hari belongs to all, Harivansh will work for all - whether treasury or opposition - and will treat all without any discrimination". Modi said Harivansh has fulfilled his responsibilities with commitment and elevated the dignity of the House.
"During his earlier tenure, he ensured discussions on big legislations and to ensure passage of bills, he sat in the House for hours," Modi said and added that many historic bills to give a new direction to the country were passed. The House achieved record productivity in 2019, which was the year of Lok Sabha elections, Modi said.
Modi said Harivansh is a down to earth person and was associated with two states Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Narrating his humble background, the PM spoke about how Harivansh could get a pair of shoes only during high school and added that JP has left much influence on him.
"He had done journalism for four decades", the PM said and added that as a member of the House he has tried his best to serve the nation and has made India proud in international forums. He said the House has seen 250 sessions and reflects a mature democracy. He also congratulated Manoj Jha.
The prime minister lauded Naidu and his team also for making arrangements for the smooth functioning of the House during COVID-19. Speaking on the occasion, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said: This is the second time he has been elected as the deputy chairman of the House. I congratulate him. He has been just to members of all parties. Naidu said Harivansh has been "winning hearts in the House".
DMK's Tiruchi Siva said: "We expect that he remains as friendly in the Chair as he is in the Chamber." Harivansh expressed gratitude towards all the members of the House, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Naidu and leaders of various parties. He also remembered late union minister Arun Jaitley on the occasion. "I expressed gratitude to you all," Harivansh said.