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After JDU's exit from NDA, Harivansh to continue as Rajya Sabha Dy Chairman

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By Amit Kumar

New Delhi | August 14, 2022 11:26:45 AM IST
The Janata Dal (United)'s decision to break its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) not only changed the political equation in Bihar but also created a buzz in the political circle from Patna to Delhi that whether Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman and JD(U) MP Harivansh will continue on his post or going to resign.

A close associate of Harivansh told ANI on condition of anonymity that the JD(U) leader is in a constitutional post and people who is sitting on such post do not belong to any political party during discharging their duties. "Why should he resign?" he said.

Asked about Harivansh not attending JD(U) meeting in Patna called by Nitish Kumar on August 9, the associate of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman said, "He (Harivansh) was not invited to the meeting that is why he had not gone there but he has lots of respect and honour for Nitish Kumar."

Harivansh was elected as the Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha on August 8, 2018. He was re-elected as the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman on September 14, 2020 after he returned to the Upper House of the Parliament for his second term from

A senior leader from JDU said that Harivansh is deeply associated with the party and is likely to continue the constitutional post that he holds.

"Harivansh ji has full respect and honours for our supremo and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar but one should also understand that Chairman of Rajya Sabha is a constitutional post and the elected person holds the post for six years. So there should not be any impact on his position despite the political situation in Bihar. He is likely to continue in his post," the JD(U) leader told ANI.

Another JD(U) leader from Bihar said that Harivansh's name was proposed by the BJP and he was elected with support from several parties.

"In the current political situation, the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman can only be removed from his post once BJP expresses no confidence against him," he told ANI.

A former Secretary General of Rajya Sabha said on condition of anonymity that the post of Deputy Chairman, Speaker or Vice President is constitutional and no impact or changes should be made despite the changes in the political situation in the country or state or any political party because the person who is repersenting such post is not a member of just a member of a political party but has to abide by the rule and follow the Constitution.

"It is no matter whether his party is in power or in Opposition. Such people on constitutional post are bound to follow the rule of House and Consitution should be supreme for them and I believe that Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman post is non-political," the former Rajya Sabha Secretary General told ANI.

Another former Secretary General of Rajya Sabha said that some instances in the past did not affect the incumbent Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and Speaker of Lok Sabha.

Citing an example, he said Prof PJ Kurien (Congress) was elected Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha on the August 21, 2012 and continued till July 1, 2018 despite a change of government at the Centre following an election in the year 2014 (16th Lok Sabha).

"Najma Heptulla (Congress) was Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson from November 18, 1988 to July 4, 1992; July 10, 1992 to July 4, 1998 and again from July 9, 1998 to June 10, 2004. During her term of office as Deputy Chairperson, there was a change of government on 4 occasions but she continued in her office as Deputy Chairperson, " the former Secretary General of Rajya Sabha told ANI.

He further said that CPI(M) leader Somnath Chatterjee was elected Speaker of the 14th Lok Sabha on June 4, 2004. CPI(M) was an ally of the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre. On the issue of the India-US Nuclear Deal, the CPI(M) withdrew support from the government in July, 2008. However, Chatterjee continued to hold the office of the Speaker, Lok Sabha.

"The above precedents show that the Office of Deputy Chairman, Rajya Sabhahas remained unaffected from the change of government at the Centre and when the party to which the Speaker, Lok Sabha or Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha belonged withdrew support from the ruling party, he or she continued in his office till completion of the term" he added.

He also added that the office of Speaker, Deputy Speaker or Deputy Chairman remains unaffected because these posts are neither appointed by the government nor by the party but are elected by the respective House so there is no constitutional requirement for the incumbent to resign from the post of Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chairman either on change of the government or his party withdrawing support to the ruling party of which it was in alliance.

Nitish Kumar was sworn chief minister for a record eighth time on Wednesday after he resigned from the post a day earlier and quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav took an oath as deputy chief minister.The Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan government in Bihar will go for a floor test on August 24 to prove its majority in the state assembly.

Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance has the support of 164 members in the assembly.

Nitish Kumar broke his alliance with the BJP for the second time in eight years on Tuesday before joining hands with RJD and other parties in the Mahagathbandhan including the Congress and Left parties. The Grand Alliance also has the support of Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM), which has four MLAs in the Assembly.

BJP has accused Nitish Kumar of "disrespecting" the mandate given by the people of Bihar. BJP and JD-U had fought the assembly polls together in 2020. Nitish Kumar was made Chief Minister though the BJP won more seats. (ANI)

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