Ansari's term II chances get brighter

Ansari's term II chances get brighter

The possibility of Vice-President Hamid Ansari retaining his office after August appeared brighter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh officially beginning consultations with political parties over his candidature for the forthcoming election.

Congress sources said consultations on the UPA’s Vice Presidential candidate began as the Election Commission on July 6 issued notification for Vice-Presidential election.

Ansari’s name has been doing the rounds in Congress circles, but it became official after the Manmohan Singh discussed his candidature with former prime minister and JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda on Saturday. “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called our leader H D Deve Gowda on Saturday and discussed the Vice-Presidential election. Hamid Ansari’s name cropped up during the discussion. Our party fully supports Ansari’s candidature,” said JD(S) spokesperson Danish Ali.

Ali also made it clear that no other name besides Ansari was discussed. “Hamid Ansari’s name was the only one discussed and no other name came up,” Ali said.

The prime minister also held consultations with CPM general secretary Prakash Karat last week. However, the Left leader declined to reveal the names discussed. “He (Singh) spoke to me about three days ago. He wanted my opinion and I gave my views on the matter,” Karat said.

In 2007, Ansari's candidature for Vice Presidential election was proposed by the Left, which was supporting the then UPA government from outside.

The prime minister is also learnt to have discussed the former diplomat’s candidature with JD(U), a key constituent of NDA. However, the JD(U), which has broken ranks with nBJP to support UPA’s Presidential nominee - Pranab Mukherjee - is unlikely to back Ansari, as party chief Sharad Yadav on Monday spoke of the intention to put up a united Opposition candidate for Vice- President. “This time, efforts will be made to ensure that the Opposition puts up a united face on the issue of Vice-President’s election. We are now focussed on Vice-President’s elections. There should be a broader unity in the Opposition on it,” Yadav said.

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