The election that will decide how united the opposition really is

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NEW DELHI: Vice president Venkaiah Naidu has set in motion the process of electing a new deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha following the imminent retirement of PJ Kurien on July 1.
The BJP is looking to secure the post by creating a “consensus” over a leader among its rank even as opposition parties explore the possibility of a joint candidate.
THE CONTEST: BJP has the support of 106 MPs, including 14 from AIADMK . Opposition parties have a combined strength of 117 that includes TDP. But in the 245-member house, the winning candidate will need 122 votes. So each extra vote counts for both sides.
Fence-sitters BJD, TRS and YSRCP may hold the key given that the gap between the NDA and opposition parties has narrowed. Both sides are attempting to woo these regional parties.
WHY IT MATTERS: Lack of majority in Rajya Sabha has been a big problem for BJP. In the last year before polls, it would be keen to push through legislations and having a chairman (Venkaiah Naidu) and deputy chairman could be a big help. For Congress, retaining the seat will be a big boost, but it may also be forced to support a non-Congress compromise candidate that some parties are insisting on.

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