VP poll: Mamata’s choice Gopal Gandhi refuses to contest

Putting a lid over speculation about his entry into Vice-Prez race, Gopal Krishna Gandhi said that he would not contest for the post.

Zeenews Bureau

Kolkata: It seems that the drama surrounding the election of the President and Vice-President of the country will not be over till the actual results are announced. In tune with what has been unfolding for quite sometime now, former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi has refused to contest the Vice Presidential election, giving a yet another jolt to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

"I have thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for having thought of me and suggested to the UPA partners my name for the Vice-Presidential election," he said, a day after the Congress-led alliance announced Vice-President Hamid Ansari as its candidate for a second term.

Asked whether any other leader had requested him to enter the fray, Gandhi said, "Some people approached me, but I said thank you. I will not."

He said he had also congratulated Ansari yesterday after his name was announced by the UPA.

With the UPA, SP and BSP backing the candidature of 75-year-old Ansari, a career diplomat and former Vice- Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, his second term in the high office is a certainty.

Trinamool Congress` Rajya Sabha member Kunal Ghosh had said yesterday that his party leader and Railway Minister Mukul Roy had at the UPA meeting proposed the names of Gandhi and Krishna Bose, a former Parliamentarian and wife of Sishir Bose, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose`s nephew.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had yesterday telephoned Mamata Banerjee to seek her party`s support for Ansari and she had reportedly said she would take a final call in two or three days.

As per earlier reports, TMC was keen on backing the candidature of the former West Bengal Governor for the post of Vice President along with former Lok Sabha member Krishna Bose.

Mamata Banerjee had opposed the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee as UPA`s Presidential candidate last month and had taken on the Congress President Sonia Gandhi on the issue. Refusing to be a part of the formal announcement, the temperamental Chief Minister of West Bengal had proposed the name of APJ Abdul Kalam for the top post. She stuck to her stand till the end, even as the former President in a press release said that he was not in the race for Raisina Hills.

This was a major setback and a loss of face for Mamata, to say the least. Kalam had always maintained that he would contest only if he was assured of 60 percent votes. Now with Gopal Gandhi backing off, the TMC is again at crossroads on the contentious issue.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said they will field their own candidate.

With fast paced action akin to a soap opera surrouding the candidature of Pranab for the top post, it seems that the nation will witness an encore as far as the Vice President`s election is also concerned.

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