Jaswant files nomination for V-P poll

Demonstrating a show of solidarity among the coalition partners, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Jaswant Singh on Friday filed his nomination papers for the Vice Presidential poll scheduled to be held on August 7, accompanied by top BJP, JD (U), Shiv Sena and Akali Dal leaders.

The former Army official, Singh, filed his nomination  papers before Secretary  General of Lok Sabha T K Viswanathan, the returning officer for conducting the election.

NDA working chairperson L K Advani and his party colleagues Sumitra Mahajan and Yashwant Sinha submitted three different sets of papers supporting the Darjelling MP’s nomination papers. Singh is pitted against the UPA nominee Hamid Ansari who has been renominated for the election to the august post for a second consecutive term.

An elated Singh after submitting his papers said that elections to the high offices of President and Vice President are “historic moments.”

However, the chances of the 74-year-old leader making it to the high office appeared bleak. But, Jaswant Singh is hopeful and believes that the election should not be seen in merely terms of “numbers and arithmetic.”

NDA convener Sharad Yadav of JD(U), BJP leader Arun Jaitely, Shiv Sena’s Ananth Geete and Akali Dal’s  Naresh Gujral, Harsimrat Kaur and Rattan Singh Ajnala also showed up at the Parliament House to express solidarity with the NDA nominee.

After completing with the process, the former union minister told waiting journalists that “It is a very happy occasion. It is also an honour (to be NDA's candidate).” Hailing from Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Singh did not agree that he was fighting a lost battle given the fact that UPA has more numbers.

“You may have reached this conclusion, I have not...The perception that in a democracy only numbers are counted is not true,” he said in reply to a question if the balance was tilted in favour of incumbent Hamid Ansari.

A liberal in the Hindutva party, Singh’s political stature has helped his party to rally behind other NDA allies and offer an element of seriousness to the battle that was lacking in the Presidential poll. Former NCP leader P A Sangma was co-opted by the NDA which could not field its candidate owing to sharp difference among its partners.

JD (U) and Shiv Sena did not go with the NDA to vote for UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee in the President poll that happened on Thursday.

The NDA wants Ansari to sweat out for the poll owing to his conduct in supervising the Rajya Sabha during the crucial Lokpal debate.

Singh was suspended from the party after he wrote a book “Jinnah- India, Partition, Independence.”
His controversial book was banned in Gujarat by the BJP Chief Minister Narendra Modi because Jaswant Singh blamed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the veteran leader who hailed from the state, and Jawaharlal Nehru for the partition of the country. Singh, however, denied that Narendra Modi and the BJP Gujarat unit might not vote for him over the matter. “Why not? Where did you get this doubt,” was the reply of Singh.

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