Is KCR planning to make KK Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman?

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is understood to be toying with the idea of fielding TRS Rajya Sabha member, K. Kesava Rao, as the party nominee for the post of Deputy Chairman of the Upper House of Parliament, the elections for which is scheduled to be held during the ensuing monsoon session.

The present Deputy Chairman, P J Kurien, of the Congress party, will be retiring on July 1. Vice-President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu, has already begun the process for electing the new Deputy Chairman by holding talks with the Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister and the Parliament Secretary.

The Deputy Chairman’s post normally has been with the ruling party, but now with the BJP-led NDA and Congress-led UPA evenly poised in the Rajya Sabha, it looks like a close contest for the coveted and prestigious post. The BJP , which is the single largest party in the House with 69, has the support of 106 members, including that of 14 AIADMK members. The combined opposition strength is 117 which includes 51 members of the Congress and 6 members of the TDP. There are eight nominated members. The winning candidate will require 122 votes in the 245-member House.

Against this scenario since the three regional parties BJD (with 9 members), TRS ( 6) and YSRCP (2) hold the key to the election, the BJP and the Opposition have stepped up their efforts to woo these three parties. The BJP as per its neutral stand might abstain from voting, while the YSRCP has not yet committed itself to support any side. Despite its anti-BJP and anti-Congress stance, the TRS is yet to spell out its role in the crucial elections, though there are speculations that it might pitch is own candidate in the last minute.

In the event of the BJP not managing to cobble the required number of 122 votes for winning the Dy. Chairman post, there is a possibility that it might prop up a BJD nominee. Since the Opposition too in its efforts to field a non-BJP and non-Congress candidate seemed to be inclined to project a BJD nominee, the BJP seemed to be even toying with the idea of extending support to a TRS nominee.

In fact Prime Minister Narendra Modi is understood to have discreetly sounded this move to KCR during the latter’s visit to the national capital on the eve of the NITI Ayog meeting. However, KCR seemed to be little apprehensive in yielding to BJP’s overtures lest his TRS party might lose the support of the minorities. At the same time he seemed to be not averse in TRS wresting the coveted post of RS Deputy Chairman, if the party nominee is ensured at least a smooth sailing if not a unanimous election.

Thus against this background, KCR is understood to be toying with the idea of fielding K. Kesava Rao, popularly known as KK, who is also the TRS Secretary-General. It is pertinent to note here that AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who has become a friend-turned-foe of Modi and BJP, seemed to be determined to take his fight further by projecting his own ruling party TDP nominee C. N.Ramesh, his close confidant and Rajya Sabha member.

Chandrababu Naidu after severing ties with Modi and BJP has been trying to the don the role as a leader of the non-BJP and non-Congress opposition parties in a bid to forge a Federal Front in the run upto the 2019 elections, has already began parleys with the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Karnataka and Kerala with regard to RS Deputy Chairman elections. He is understood to have even broached the issue of fielding a TDP nominee. The issue is likely to be discussed threadbare in the coming days by the opposition parties.

However as of now there seem to be no consensus among the opposition parties as even Mamata Banerjee too is keen on fielding her own TMC nominee. Now with even TRS planning to jump into the fray, the election has attained lot of political significance. As a matter of fact all attention would be focussed on whether TRS and TDP would lock horns for the RS Dy. Chairman post. (NSS).