Vice-President poll fails to charge parties

In contrast to hype surrounding Presidential poll, enthusiasm seems to be lacking in political circles regarding Vice-Presidential election slated for August 7.

So far, except the Congress, trying to drum up support for giving second term to incumbent Vice-President Hamid Ansari, no other political party including the main Opposition BJP has started deliberations for the selection of candidate.

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has stepped up efforts to seek consensus on Ansari’s name by calling up UPA allies including TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and parties outside the coalition such as JD (S), CPI(M) and CPI, the NDA, headed by BJP, has not even met once in this regard.

According to sources in theTMC, its chief and West Bengal chief minister is likely to propose the name of former governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi for the post and oppose the choice of Ansari. If there is no consensus on Gandhi, she will push for Krishna Bose, former MP from her party and niece of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as her candidate.

In 2007, it was the Left parties, arch rivals of Mamata, who had suggested the name of Ansari for the Vice-President and the UPA had agreed to it.

Although sources in the BJP said that the UPA candidate will not get a walkover in Vice-Presidential poll, the NDA has shown no urgency to discuss their strategy for the election to the second highest constitutional office in the country.

Meeting with allies

The ruling UPA has called a meeting of its alliance partners on July 14, where it is likely to name Ansari as its official elections. As for Ansari’s candidature, most of the political parties contacted by the Prime Minister have kept their cards close to their chest. Last week, the Prime Minister had called CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat. Today Karat said in Chennai: “We have told the Prime Minister that we would like to have a person who does not belong to the Congress.” He did not make it clear whether the party will support or oppose former diplomat’s candidature.

CPI leaders A B Bardhan and Sudhakar Reddy have told Singh that the party’s central secretariat will meet on July 18 and take a decision on the issue.

The TMC has asked all their MPs and MLAs to be present in Kolkata from July 16.

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