P J Kurien elected as RS Dy Chairman

New Delhi: Setting aside their confrontation over the CAG report on coal block allocation, opposition and the ruling dispensation on Tuesday got together in a rare show to unanimously elect Congress leader P J Kurien as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman.

The House, which was adjourned earlier for an hour after uproar over CAG reports tabled on Friday, saw the opposition suspending its attack on the government to allow the election and subsequent felicitations to Kurien by members from all parties.

Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh proposed Kurien`s name for the post and was seconded by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley. After Chairman Hamid Ansari announced Kurien`s election, the Prime Minister and Jaitley escorted him to his seat.

The House showered lavish praise on Kurien with the Prime Minister saying, it is a proof of the wide appreciation and support the Congress leader enjoys in the House.

Singh said Kurien has "vast experience" and has been conducting the proceedings of the House with great aplomb. "We wish him all success and promise him that we will cooperate with him to the maximum so that the House can run smoothly."

Ansari said his unanimous election showed he has endeared himself to all sections of the House.

As Kurien`s seat is next to Jaitely, the Leader of the Opposition said in a lighter vein, "Now that he has literally crossed the floor and has come to this side, I`m sure he will be fair to this side." Jaitley noted that since the days of unanimous elections are very rare now, Kurien making it to the post is a proof of both his pleasantness and patience. "He has earned tremendous goodwill of the House," he said.

A beaming Kurien said he will try to accommodate views of all members in running the House. Kurien said he felt proud to belong to this institution and honoured to be elected as its Deputy Chairman. While felicitating Kurien, members hoped that smaller parties will get chance to speak during discussions. Some of them also requested the Chairman to remove the bell from the podium, saying Kurien was very fond of using it.

At this, Kurien said, "My fondness for the bell is natural as I was a teacher…I will try to control. If I do not succeed please forgive me." Kurien`s election is the first occasion when the ruling alliance and the Opposition have evolved a consensus candidate after contests for the posts of President and Vice President.

Congratulating him, Ansari said, "He has immensely contributed not only to the deliberations of the House but also as member of various committees."

Jaitley said, "Very few people can match his kind of Parliamentary experience. He is almost regarded as a universal friend of this House."

BSP chief Mayawati said she was hopeful that he will take care of all sections in running the House. Derek `O Brien of Trimamool Congress, which had kept the Congress on tenterhooks till the last moment during the Presidential poll, also proposed Kurien`s name. Kanimozhi (DMK) too moved a motion, which was seconded by Ram Kripal Yadav (RJD).

Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U), Motilal Vora and Karan Singh (both Cong) and Javed Akhtar (Nom) also proposed his name and Naresh Agrawal (SP), Devender Goud T (TDP), Praveen Rashtrapal (Cong) and Anu Aga (Nom) seconded it. Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Mohan Singh (SP), T Siva (DMK), Tariq Anwar (NCP), Shashi Bhushan Behra (BJD), V Maitreyan (AIADMK), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena), D Raja (CPI), Joy Abraham (Kerala Cong-M), P C Gupta (RJD), Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP), Barun Mukherjee (AIFB), Sanjeev Kumar (JMM), S S Dhindsa (SAD) and B P Baishya (AGP) also felicitated Kurien.