New Delhi: UPA nominee Hamid Ansari on Wednesday filed his nomination papers for re-election as Vice President in the presence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and leaders of the ruling alliance who are confident of his overwhelming victory.

Gandhi and Singh handed over the first set of nomination papers on behalf of Ansari to Lok Sabha Secretary General T K Vishwanathan, who is the Returning Officer for the August 7 Vice Presidential election.

Congress veteran Motilal Vora, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra submitted three additional sets of nomination papers on behalf of Ansari.

75-year-old Ansari is set to become the second person to get two consecutive terms as Vice President after Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, RLD chief Ajit Singh, IUML leader E Ahamed, DMK leader T R Baalu and RJD chief Lalu Prasad were among those present.

All the UPA consituents except Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress had signed the nomination papers of Ansari.

UPA election managers are confident that Banerjee will back Ansari like she did on Tuesday for Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential poll.

Hamid Ansari vs Jaswant Singh


The election is expected to witness virtually a straight contest between Ansari and NDA nominee Jaswant Singh, with the ruling UPA confident of cornering over 520 votes for their candidate in the electoral college of 790 comprising members of the two Houses of Parliament.

Ansari reacts

Soon after filing his nomination papers, Ansari thanked UPA and its partners for supporting his candidature. "I am very grateful to all the leaders who have come here to attend this function, for supporting my nomination and for sponsoring me," he told reporters.

The Prime Minister said he was very delighted that there was massive support for Ansari's renomination as Vice President.

"We are all very delighted that there is such a massive support for renomination of Hamid Ansari for the august office of Vice President," he said.

"There is overwhelming support for Hamid Ansari and we are confident of getting more than 520 votes in an electoral college of 790," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.

Number game

Ansari's nomination papers were signed by a total of 232 MPs as proposers and seconders. Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP supremo Mayawati, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and LJP member Ram Vilas Paswan were among those allies who had signed Ansari's nomination papers.

Sources said key UPA ally Trinamool Congress has not signed the nomination papers of Ansari.

Trinamool Congress, which has decided to vote for Mukherjee in the Presidential poll, has said the party will decide later its stand on the Vice Presidential election.

Besides Pawar, NCP leaders Praful Patel and D P Tripathi were present when Ansari filed his papers. NCP had not attended the UPA meeting in which his candidature was announced.

Ansari: The diplomat

A diplomat and an academician, Ansari became Vice President in 2007 after defeating NDA nominee Najma Heptullah. He had earlier served as India's Permanent Representative to the UN, High Commissioner to Australia, and Ambassador to the UAE, Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

A Padma Shri awardee, he was also Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University and Chairperson of National Commission for Minorities.





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