BJP to contest VP poll against Ansari

With UPA declaring Hamid Ansari as its Vice-presidential candidate, BJP decided to go for a contest.

New Delhi: With UPA declaring Hamid Ansari as its Vice-presidential poll candidate, BJP today decided to go for a contest but maintained it will finalise its nominee after consulting NDA allies.

BJP Core Group met here this evening after Ansari`s candidature was announced by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

"We have decided to contest the Vice-Presidential election. A meeting of NDA allies has been convened on July 16 to discuss the issue. We will announce our candidate after due deliberations and consulting our allies," BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting.

While the main opposition had indicated that it will not give a "walkover" to Congress in the Vice-presidential poll, its reservations regarding Ansari since his conduct during the Lokpal Bill debate in Rajya Sabha on December 29, 2011, further contributed to the party`s decision to contest the election, sources said.
Sources said BJP and NDA allies are mulling over the names of JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and Najma Heptullah who had unsuccessfully contested the VP elections against Ansari in 2007.

Suggestions of supporting Gopalkrishna Gandhi or Krishna Bose, whose names have been floated by Trinamool Congress, were also made but all will depend on whether Mamata Banerjee fields any of the two as a vice-presidential candidate. In case she abstains, NDA will go ahead with its own candidate.

In such a scenario, the poll may see a repeat of 2007 when Ansari had contested and won handsomely against Heptullah.

Though some BJP leaders had reportedly met Yadav and requested him to become a vice-presidential candidate to put up a serious fight, he is likely to spike the proposal.