Gopalkrishna Gandhi not to contest V-P election

Gopalkrishna Gandhi not to contest V-P election

Former Bengal governor thanks Mamata for favouring him

Former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Sunday turned down a proposal to contest the upcoming Vice-Presidential election. His name was forwarded to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) by the Trinamool Congress on Saturday as a candidate.

The Trinamool Congress and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s representative, Mukul Roy, also suggested the candidature of Krishna Bose,  former Lok Sabha member and niece of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, at a UPA meeting chaired by Congress President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and Rajaji, thanked the West Bengal Chief Minister “for having thought of him and suggesting his name” to the UPA partners for the Vice-President’s post. The former Bengal Governor told Deccan Herald: “I said I will not contest the election. I have also congratulated Hameed Ansari (on his renomination).”

Gandhi said in Chennai that the issue was not one of turning down the TMC’s proposal, for things had gone beyond that stage with the  UPA deciding its nominee for the vice-president’s post.   

Mamata had, through Union minister and TMC leader Mukul Roy, also proposed Krishna Bose’s name. However, Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s name was on top of her list. This had triggered considerable interests in the political circles amid expectations that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) could consider the TMC leader’s suggestion in forcing a contest.  

Jaya’s move

Mamata’s move in throwing up two names for the post, political analysts said, was in a way an obverse of the move by AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik earlier in suggesting and supporting former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma as a nominee for the Presidential poll. The BJP later backed Sangma’s candidature.

Even as Jayalalitha had hoped that her West Bengal counterpart would also support Sangma’s candidature for the Presidential poll, Mamata is yet to disclose her party’s decision.  

Political analysts said a possible convergence among non-Congress parties closer to the NDA could have emerged for the vice-president’s post if Gopalkrishna Gandhi had consented. With Gandhi not contesting, options for parties like the Jayalalitha-led AIADMK logically get narrowed. Much will hinge on the BJP leadership’s decision on Monday, sources pointed out.

In a related development, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram called on DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi in Chennai on Sunday evening, apparently to explain Hameed Ansari’s choice for the vice-president’s post.

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