On Thursday, National Democratic Alliance candidate and Janata Dal (United) MP Harivansh Narayan Singh won the election for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman post. He secured victory over the Congress backed opposition candidate BK Hariprasad by 125 against 105 votes.
The 62-year-old Harivansh Narayan Singh was editor-in-chief of the Prabhat Khabar newspaper based in Jharkhand’s Ranchi. He is a post-graduate in Economics from Banaras Hindu University (BHU). New Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha also has PG Diploma in journalism from BHU. During his college days, he actively participated in the JP movement of 1974. He was greatly influenced by Jayaprakash Narayan. In fact, Jayaprakash Narayan and Harivansh Narayan both are from the same Sitab Diara village in Saran district.
Harivansh had started working with the Times of India as a trainee journalist in 1977. Later on, he switched to Dharmyug magazine, a popular magazine during those days. Harivansh left Dharmyug magazine in 1981.
He took the banking services exam and joined Bank of India from 1981 to 1984. Harivansh Singh then switched to Amrit Bazar Patrika’s magazine Ravivar. He worked there as an assistant editor. Harivansh worked there till 1989 after he was shouldered with the responsibility of Usha Martin group’s struggling newspaper- Prabhat Khabar- in Ranchi. Harivansh employed all his skills and successfully revived Prabhat Khabar. He also started new editions of the Hindi daily in the following states: Bhiar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
Harivansh also served as the additional information advisor to Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, who India’s PM between November 1990 and June 1991.
He served as the editor of Prabhat Khabar for 25 years; he left the job only after becoming the member of upper house of the Parliament in 2014. He was nominated for Rajya Sabha by JD (U) party of Nitish Kumar. As PM Modi said, “He (Harivansh) has been blessed with the talent of writing.” The new Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha has edited or written 19 books. Harivansh Narayan Singh has also been a member of the World Editors Forum. Being a Member of Parliament, he adopted Bahuaara village in Rohtas district.
Harivansh would be succeeding Congress’ PJ Kurien in the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman post. Now, the chairman and the Deputy Chairman both would be from the NDA only. This is likely to help the BJP in pushing its legislative agenda in the Upper House. While the BJP commands a brute majority in the Lok Sabha, it lacks the number in the Rajya Sabha. As a result of this, many bills pushed by the government has been bogged down in the Rajya Sabha. The election of Mr Singh not only elevated a NDA leader to the Deputy Chairman post but also demonstrated that the NDA can count on certain non-aligned parties in the Upper House. The government has a number bills pending in the Rajya Sabha and it would like to get passed before the nation goes to polls in 2019.