New Delhi: Harivansh, a senior leader of the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U), was elected the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. This marks the end of Congress’ nearly four decades long dominance on the number two post in the Upper House.

Harivansh, who got 125 votes in his favour, defeated joint opposition candidate B.K. Hariprasad of the Congress who got the support of 105 members of Rajya Sabha. “As per voting, ayes got 125 noes got 105. The motion is carried and I declare that Shri Harivansh has been declared as the new deputy chairman," M. Venkaiah Naidu, chairman of Rajya Sabha declared

Nine motions were moved and seconded by members in the Rajya Sabha, which included five for Hariprasad and four for Harivansh. As the motion for Harivansh was first in the order, it was taken up first. A voice vote was inconclusive and so a division of vote took place.

There are five key takeaways from the outcome of the elections for the new deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha.

With the election of Harivansh as the deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secures yet another constitutional position in a contest with the opposition. Earlier, NDA defeated opposition candidates in the election to the President and vic- president in the last one year.

Last minute glitches worried the BJP as one of its oldest allies, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was upset over its candidate not being chosen. The Punjab ally, however, came around after BJP president Amit Shah reached out to them. Similarly, the Congress too faced last minute ally troubles with all the other opposition parties backing out of fielding a candidate.

In the end, it was the regional parties which held the key for the election of deputy chairman. Non-BJP, non-Congress parties such as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) were wooed by NDA leaders and ended up tilting the scales in its favour.

The election for deputy chairman in Rajya Sabha was expected to be a test for opposition unity but ended up exposing the faultlines within. While all the key opposition parties did support Congress, they failed to reach out to fence-sitters like the BJD, TRS and AIADMK. The outcome will have an impact on parliamentary business in Rajya Sabha as it will give an upper hand to ruling alliance despite being in minority.

With Hariprasad losing the contest, the Congress dominance over the post ends after nearly four decades. The post fell vacant after P.J. Kurien of the Congress retired last month. Earlier the number two post in the Rajya Sabha was held by several Congress leaders such as K. Rahman Khan, Najma Heptullah and M.M. Jacob.

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