At a time when the so-called Mahagathbandhan or grand alliance is leaving no opportunity to showcase its unity — not letting go the opportunity to politicise even the incidents of rape in Muzaffarpur — the loss of BK Hariprasad is nothing short of a loss of face for it. The NDA government, in spite of not having a majority in the Rajya Sabha, trumped the opposition that had a clear edge initially.

NDA’s candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh — of the JD(U) — got 125 votes whereas opposition candidate BK Hariprasad could manage only 105, making the former the new Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

After a kidney transplant in May, Arun Jaitley joined work today and how! He led the BJP in the House on a crucial day. But the more critical moves took place behind the scene. And they got reflected in the biggest three takeaways from the voting.

AAP refused to attend House

The Aam Aadmi Party, whose national convener Arvind Kejriwal is known to have an acrimonious relationship with the BJP in general and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular, surprised many in the opposition by withholding its MPs from reaching Parliament on the polling day.

Kejriwal, who in the past has gone to the extent of calling Modi a “psychopath”, perhaps had a change of heart when Nitish Kumar called him up for supporting the JD(U) candidate. Sources say, Kejriwal had reasoned that supporting the JD(U) candidate implied supporting NDA candidate, which was politically suicidal for them. However, the longstanding friendship between Nitish and Kejriwal was exploited to dissuade him from sending his MPs to the House today, thus bringing down the opposition strength of the Rajya Sabha.

Jagan’s MP abstained

Jagan Mohan Reddy had announced beforehand that his MPs would go to Parliament but abstain from voting. This was exactly what they did, favouring the NDA. The reasons are twofold. One, the opposition has in its camp his archrival in Andhra Pradesh, N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP. Two, since the TDP ditched the NDA, there Jagan’s party has drawn close to the BJP. Though officially denied, CCTV footage of a late-night, hush-hush meeting between a very senior YSRCP leader and Ram Madhav at the residence of the latter on South Avenue in New Delhi emerged, which sparked off speculations about both the parties exploring a post-poll alliance.


We have decided to abstain from voting for Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman elections. Both Congress and BJP have not fulfilled the promises made to Andhra Pradesh: V. Vijayasai Reddy,YSR Congress MP

— ANI (@ANI) August 9, 2018


BJD Voting for NDA

In spite of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) maintaining an equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP, on this occasion, Naveen Patnaik clearly sided with NDA’s candidate. The BJP played smart by projecting a member of the JD(U) rather than an MP of its own. So, when Modi called up Patnaik, reminding the latter how much he respected the Odisha chief minister’s father, Biju Patnaik, the road ahead for a BJD vote for the NDA candidate was paved. Before the PM called, BJP president Amit Shah had a word with Patnaik, too, which cemented the base. Very promptly, Patnaik came out and told reporters his MPs would vote for the “JD(U) candidate”, citing their “common origins in the JP movement”.

Harivansh Singh is the new Deputy-Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. It may seem to be an usual election of a parliamentary post, but at the end of the day, it gives a sneak peak into what is in store for 2019. Only time will tell whether YSRCP, BJD or AAP can prove to be of any help for the BJP in the next general election. But if today’s election is an indication, the Mahagathbandhan is an illusion.

PM Narendra Modi congratulates NDA Candidate Harivansh Narayan Singh who was elected as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman

— ANI (@ANI) August 9, 2018