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RS Dy. Chairman poll: Nitish reaches out to TRS

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    Hyderabad, Aug 7: JD(U) president Nitish Kumar today reached out to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, requesting the support of TRS for his party lawmaker and NDA candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh in the election to the post of Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha.

    The Bihar chief minister rang up the Telangana Rashtra Samithi president this morning and made the request, according to Rao's office.

    JD(U) president Nitish Kumar

    Rao told him he would discuss the issue with his party colleagues and take a final decision, it said.

    Kumar's call comes as the NDA and the Opposition appeared to be heading for a showdown in the election. The Opposition has given a clear indication that it will contest the August 9 election.

    In the upper house, the BJP-led ruling alliance lacks a majority.

    According to Opposition sources, Tiruchi Siva of DMK, Vandana Chavan of NCP and nominated member K T S Tulsi are front-runners for the post.

    The support of regional parties such as the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and YSR Congress are crucial in the poll.

    The post of the deputy chairman has been lying vacant since June this year, following the retirement of P J Kurien, who had been elected to the upper house of Parliament on a Congress ticket from Kerala.

    The current strength of Rajya Sabha is 244 and support of 123 members would be needed for a win in the full house.

    The BJP is the largest party in the house with 73 members. Its allies JD(U), Shiv Sena, Akali Dal have six, three and three members, respectively.

    Besides the nominated and independent members affiliated to it, the BJP is banking on the support of 13, nine, six and two members of the AIADMK, BJD, TRS, YSR Congress respectively, its floor managers said.

    If all four parties support the NDA candidate, then the numbers add up to 126.

    However, if parties like BJD or TRS abstain from voting, then things will become more precarious for the ruling alliance.

    Both these parties had abstained during a vote on the recent motion of no-confidence against the government in the Lok Sabha while the AIADMK had voted with the treasury benches.

    The BJP is hoping to get support of four of the six independent members and three of the four nominated members.

    The Congress has 50 members.

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