New Delhi: UPA nominee Hamid Ansari on Monday appears set to get a second term as Vice President by emerging a clear winner against NDA's Jaswant Singh in a direct contest for the post. 

The election for the post of Vice President has seen UPA and its allies, the Left as also other parties supporting it from outside backing the incumbent.
    
A total of 788 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs are eligible to vote in the poll to elect the 14th Vice President.
    
UPA managers are confident that 75-year-old Ansari is set to get at least 500 votes in a contest in which Ansari has a definite edge as far as the arithmetic is concerned.
     
Congress itself has 204 members in Lok Sabha and 71 in Rajya Sabha. UPA constituents Trinamool Congress has 19 MPs in Lok Sabha and 9 in Rajya Sabha, DMK has 18 members in Lok Sabha and 7 in Rajya Sabha, NCP 9 in Lok Sabha and 7 in Rajya Sabha and RLD has 5 in Lok Sabha. National Conference has 3 in Lok Sabha and 2 in Rajya Sabha.

Besides, SP with its 22 members in Lok Sabha and 9 in Rajya Sabha and BSP with its 21 in Lok Sabha and 15 in Rajya Sabha are backing Ansari who is also being backed by the entire Left block with 38 members in both Houses of Parliament.
        
Unlike the Presidential poll held last month, which had split NDA with JD-U and Shiv Sena breaking ranks to vote for UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee, Jaswant Singh has the backing of a united NDA for his Vice Presidential bid.
    
BJP has 114 members in Lok Sabha and 49 in Rajya Sabha, JD-U 20 and 9, Shiv Sena 11 and 4 and SAD 4 and 3.
    
While AIADMK, which has 14 MPs in Parliament, on Friday announced its support to Singh's candidature, BJD with 18 members in Lok Sabha and 7 in the Rajya Sabha has decided to abstain from voting.
    
Ahead of the poll, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday hosted a lunch for UPA constituents and the parties supporting it from outside, which projected a complete picture of unity.

Trinamool Congress MPs attended Gandhi's lunch and the party is expected to go public with its support Ansari ahead of the polls.
     
Not only all UPA constituents but also the chiefs of Samajwadi Party and BSP Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati attended the lunch.
    
The two leaders, arch rival in Uttar Pradesh politics, had not attended any such programme together for several years.
    
At the AICC headquarters, party general secretary Digvijay Singh held interactions with several MPs, especially those from UP, to ensure voting is done properly during the Vice Presidential poll and no vote goes waste. The balloting will take place from 10 am to 5 pm.
    
A total of 42 papers were filed by 31 candidates during the 14-day nomination process, of which four sets of papers submitted by Ansari and three sets submitted by Singh were accepted. The nomination papers of 29 others were rejected on various grounds.
    
Though the numbers are stacked highly against Singh, BJP is making all efforts to put up a respectable fight.
    
In Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday extended AIADMK's support to NDA nominee Jaswant Singh, saying she firmly believes that there has to be an opposition in a true democracy.

(Agencies)

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