Veteran Journalist Harivasnh is now Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson

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New Delhi: The former editor of Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar, Harivansh Narayan Singh has been elected Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. Singh, who is a JD(U) MP, was fielded by the ruling NDA as its candidate. He romped home defeating defeating Opposition's B K Hariprasad by 20 votes.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu initiated the process of the election on Thursday by calling for division of votes in the House. While Harivansh Narayan Singh secured 125 votes, Hariprasad got 105. The post of Rajya Sabha deputy chairman has been lying vacant since the retirement of P J Kurien on July 1.

Harivansh, one of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s closest aides, has been a Rajya Sabha member from JDU since 2014. Singh is a veteran journalist. The 62-year-old was at the helm of the Prabhat Khabar, a Hindi newspaper based in Jharkhand. He is credited to have revived the paper when it was at the verge of closure.

Prabhat Khabar is widely known for reporting relentlessly on the fodder scam starting from 1992. A first-time parliamentarian, Singh comes with a clean image along with the grit of a veteran journalist. A graduate from Banaras Hindu University, he was born in Ballia. Singh was also closely associated with former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar, who served on the post for about 8 months. He was also part of the movement launched by Socialist leader Jaya Prakash Narayan.

By choosing Singh as their candidate, BJP put across a very important message. With things hitting a rough patch with the BJP-JDU combination in Bihar, getting Singh on the pedestal is likely to be seen as an ice breaker.

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