NDA to pick V-P candidate today

NDA to pick V-P candidate today

NDA to pick V-P candidate today

Former Union minister Jaswant Singh of the BJP may emerge as the Opposition nominee for the vice-presidential election after Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav on Sunday appeared reluctant to be a candidate for the August 7 poll.

A senior BJP leader told Deccan Herald that “Jaswant Singhji has emerged as a clear frontrunner as our candidate for the vice-presidential poll.”

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will meet on Monday to finalise the name of its vice-presidential candidate.

Asked if Yadav’s name was also being considered to challenge United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate Hamid Ansari to ensure the support of the Janata Dal-United, the BJP leader said: “His (Yadav’s) name was also discussed. But wider consensus has been on Jaswantji’s name.”

According to sources, a section in the BJP was keen on announcing Yadav as NDA’s vice-presidential candidate to enlist the backing of the Janata Dal-United, which broke ranks with the alliance on the presidential election and announced support for UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee.

Yadav, however, downplayed reports that his name was also considered as an NDA candidate for the constitutional post, saying he would not like to comment on “speculation.”

“I will never speak on speculation. But unfortunately my name has also been surfaced,” Yadav said. Yadav asserted: “The issue of the vice-presidential election and Pranab Mukherjee are separate. I have never supported Congress’s political line ever since I joined politics. We support Mukherjee for his political experience.”

The name of Najma Heptullah has been also doing the rounds as she is also keen on contesting the elections for India’s second highest constitutional post. She had fought against Ansari in the 2007 vice-presidential election.

“Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, called on Sharad Yadav to propose that he should contest as an NDA candidate,” confirmed  a senior leader of the Janata Dal-United. “Though the BJP proposal is a serious one, Sharadji is not keen on running for the post,” he said.

“It would not be politically useful for a person like Sharadji to opt for a post which restrains you from taking a political line. He has been a voice of dalits, backward classes and other marginal sections of society. How could he think of running for this post,” asked a close associate of Yadav.

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