New Delhi: The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has decided to field incumbent Vice-President Mohammed Hamid Ansari in the vice-presidential poll for a second term.
Though it was known in the Congress circles that Ansari was the front-runner, the first official indication of the candidature of the former diplomat and scholar came when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently called on Janata Dal (Secular) president HD Deve Gowda seeking his party’s support for Ansari.
Sources also claim that Prime Minister has also appealed to Left leaders to support Ansari.
JD-S chief Gowda told reporters that he has no objection sin supporting Ansari’s candidature for the vice-president’s post. In view of the parliamentary arithmetic, the Congress-led alliance can only ensure victory of its vice-presidential candidate with the help of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Besides Pranab Mukherjee was formally nominated by the UPA as its presidential candidate, Ansari was the other preference of the ruling alliance for the president’s post. Before announcing Pranab’s name for the top job, Congress president Sonia Gandhi conveyed both names to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and asked her to indicate her preference.
Weighing in his favour are two factors: he was seriously considered for President; and a majority of the Vice-Presidents in the past have become President. The only ones who have not made it are either those who died in office, or those whose bid for the Presidency came up at a time when the government that had nominated them was in the Opposition. Twice, owing to the fact that the incumbent President died in office, the election of the President did not coincide with the end of the Vice-President’s tenure.
If Ansari gets a second term, he will be the second incumbent to do so. The first was S. Radhakrishnan, who served two terms as Vice-President before becoming President, as the first President, Rajendra Prasad, got two terms.
The vice-presidential election is scheduled for August 7.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance is not likely to contest the vice-presidential poll since it lacks numbers in both houses.