Harivansh Narayan Singh. Photograph:( ANI )
In the end, the NDA candidate for the post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman easily beat the man the opposition pitted against him. The JD(U)'s Harivansh Narayan Singh got 125 votes against the Congress' BK Hariprasad who got 105.
But it had been a tense buildup, with news reports saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah had worked the phones lines before the vote on Thursday.
The election was being seen as a test of the opposition's unity ahead of the 2019 elections — which is why it had assumed so much significance.
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The post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman had been lying vacant since the retirement of Congress leader PJ Kurien in June 2018. At his farewell, Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu had urged the ruling and opposition parties to find a suitable replacement.
Naveen Patnaik's BJD decided to vote for Singh after a phone call from Prime Minister Modi to Patnaik.
Biju Janta Dal supporting JDU since JDU&BJD have similar ideological origins-emerging from Jay Prakash Narayan movement. Congress candidate was AICC in charge of Odisha till recently& was vitriolic in his statements against BJD and State: BJD Statement on RS Deputy Chairman polls pic.twitter.com/hYtcfQo2A9— ANI (@ANI) August 9, 2018
The AAP on the other hand abstained from the vote — because Congress President Rahul Gandhi did not call Kejriwal. Leader of the AAP in the Rajya Sabha Sanjay Singh was quoted saying "Rahul can hug Modi" but he cannot call Kejriwal to ask for support.
The YSR Congress also abstained.
JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar did call Kejriwal, asking for support, but was told that the AAP would not support an NDA candidate.
"I congratulate Harivanshji on behalf of the whole house. He has been blessed with the talent of writing. He was also a favourite of former PM Chandra Shekharji," Modi said after Singh's win.
I congratulate Harivansh ji on behalf of the whole house. He has been blessed with the talent of writing. He was also a favourite of former PM Chandra Shekhar ji: PM Modi #RajyaSabhaDeputyChairman pic.twitter.com/jmySo2x6fI— ANI (@ANI) August 9, 2018
"We are confident of our win and election result is a foregone conclusion," Singh had said earlier in the morning.
We are confident of our win and election result is a foregone conclusion: Harivansh Narayan Singh, NDA's candidate for the post of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman. pic.twitter.com/sRnJn07UG4— ANI (@ANI) August 9, 2018
"Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose," Sonia Gandhi said after the election.
Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose: Sonia Gandhi on NDA Candidate Harivansh elected as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/Xgsu6e5vip— ANI (@ANI) August 9, 2018