NDA works out strategy for V-P poll

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Tuesday decided to work out a strategy to keep its votes intact in the August 7 vice- presidential poll after the huge embarrassment it suffered due to cross voting in the recent presidential election.

All NDA partners, including the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, were represented at a meeting held at senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani’s house.  

After the meeting, NDA convener and JD-U chief Sharad Yadav told reporters, “We decided to remain united and keep NDA votes intact during the contest between their candidate Jashwant Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) nominee Hamid Ansari.

The BJP suffered a loss of face when the presidential election result on Sunday revealed large-scale cross voting by Karnataka MLAs and MPs for rival UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee who emerged victorious, ignoring the NDA backed candidate P A Sangma.  

The NDA also decided that Bharatiya Janata Party MPs Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaj Hussain would coordinate Singh’s election. Rudy had remained close to Jashwant Singh even when he was thrown out of the party after his controversial book praising Jinnah. The NDA will make a fresh bid to reach out to other allies, including the AIADMK and Biju Janata Dal, to garner more votes for their candidate.

The leaders said 790 MPs from the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha would vote directly to elect the vice-president. Incumbent Ansari appears to have an edge over Singh, given the fact that he has support of the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress, National Conference, Rashtriya Lok Dal and other parties.

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