New Delhi:  Congress has propped up Vice-President Hamid Ansari's name for a second term with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh beginning the exercise to solicit support for his candidature.

Singh discussed Ansari's name with former Prime Minister and JD-S leader HD Deve Gowda on Saturday. JD-S supported Ansari's candidature.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called our leader H D Deve Gowda on Saturday and discussed the Vice-Presidential election. Hamid Ansari's name came up during the discussion.  Our party fully supports Ansari's candidature," JD-S spokesperson Danish Ali said.

Ali made it clear that no other name was discussed during the meeting. "Hamid Ansari's name was the only name that was discussed and no other name came up during the discussion," Ali said.

He also said that it is very natural for incumbent Vice-President to get a second term. Ansari's name was also discussed by the Congress for President's post along with that of Pranab Mukherjee. However, Mukherjee was chosen as the UPA nominee for the Presidential election.

The name of Ansari was doing the round for the Vice-Presidential election for quite a few days. A section in the Congress feels that Ansari's second term as Vice-President will send a good signal to minorities.


BJP to field its own Vice President candidate

Meanwhile, the BJP said that it would field its own candidate for the post of Vice President and would not support the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) nominee.

"It is natural that the BJP will itself fight the vice president election. We will discuss it with are allies in NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and decide," BJP's national spokesperson and general secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Prasad, however, did not comment on who the candidate would be.

Insiders said the party is yet to zero in on a candidate. The party is backing P.A. Sangma for the post of President against the UPA's Pranab Mukherjee.

NDA was divided on the Presidential poll with two of its allies JD-U and Shiv Sena backing Pranab Mukherjee's candidature while BJP and Akali Dal supported Opposition nominee PA Sangma.

During the run-up to the Presidential election, names of BJP leader Jaswant Singh and Punjab Chief Minister and Akali Dal president Prakash Singh Badal came up as probable V-P candidates from the opposition camp.

According to sources, the UPA might go with Vice President Hamid Ansari for a second term.

The arithmetic of Vice-President poll

The Vice President's poll, to be held on August 8, was notified on July 3.

The last date for filing nominations is July 20. The date for scrutiny of nominations is July 21. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is July 23.

The Vice President is elected by the members of the electoral college consisting of  members of both houses of parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

The electoral college consists of 790 MPs - 233 elected members of the Rajya Sabha, 12 nominated members of the Rajya Sabha, 543 MPs of the Lok Sabha and two nominated members of the Lok Sabha.


Latest News from India News Desk