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Meet Harivansh, the journalist who is now Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha

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The JD(U) MP was elected to the Upper House in 2014 after serving as editor-in-chief of the prominent Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar.

New Delhi: Janata Dal (United) MP Harivansh has been elected the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. In Thursday’s election, the NDA-backed leader defeated Congress’s B.K. Hariprasad 125 votes to 105.

Harivansh, a first-time MP from Bihar, is a well-known former journalist and editor-in-chief of the prominent Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar.


Also Read: BJD, TRS swing Rajya Sabha deputy chair poll in Modi govt’s favour


Formative years

Born Harivansh Narayan Singh in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh, on 30 June, 1956, he completed his post-graduation in economics and a diploma in journalism from the Banaras Hindu University.

While in college, he was influenced by Jayaprakash Narayan, and actively participated in the socialist movement led by him in 1974.

Harivansh married Asha Singh on 23 April, 1978, and has one son and a daughter.

Journalism career 

Harivansh began his career as a sub-editor with the pictorial weekly Dharmyug, working there from 1977 to 1981. In 1985, he switched to Amrita Bazar Patrika group’s weekly magazine Ravivar as assistant editor, and worked there for four years.

He joined Prabhat Khabar in 1989 and remained there for more than 25 years, rising to the position of editor-in-chief. The newspaper has supported the demand for “special status” for the state of Bihar, which has been JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar’s demand over the years.

Harivansh received the Madhav Rao Sapre Award in August 2008 for his outstanding contribution to the field of journalism.

He also served as additional information adviser for the Prime Minister’s Office under Chandra Shekhar, who also hailed from Ballia.


Also Read: Congress’ B. K. Hariprasad to be opposition nominee for RS deputy chairman’s post: Sources


Jump into politics

Harivansh was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha in 2014, and is reportedly part of Nitish Kumar’s think tank.

The JD(U), which broke away from Bihar’s grand alliance and reformed its old partnership with the BJP last year, is currently the only prominent BJP ally which does not have any representation in the union council of ministers. This is perhaps why Harivansh was chosen as the alliance’s candidate for the Deputy Chairmanship.

Just three days ago, Harivansh lost the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) ballot, securing only 26 votes as former ally TDP’s C.M. Ramesh was elected with 106 votes.

As per his declaration, Harivansh possesses assets amounting to more than Rs 4 crore, including 28.61 acres of agricultural land in Ballia worth more than Rs 1 crore. Spouse Asha Singh also holds assets amounting to over Rs 1 crore.

Criminal record

Cognisance has been taken against him in three cases. In total, there are five charges against his name, under Sections 500 and 501 of the Indian Penal Code (defamation and publishing material which is defamatory in nature).

Till now, he has never been convicted in any case.


Also Read: Rajya Sabha deputy chairman election: Has BJP upset its oldest ally SAD or is it appeasing JD(U)?


 

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