VP polls: Naveen leaves for Delhi to meet BJD MPs



Bhubaneswar: BJD president Naveen Patnaik left for Delhi on Friday to consult MPs on the party's support in the vice-presidential election candidate.

"We are still in consultation in the party to decide on BJD's candidate for the vice-president's post," Patnaik, Odisha Chief Minister, told reporters before leaving for Delhi.

Though BJD was the first political party to announce the name of P A Sangma as its presidential candidate, it is in a fix over over whom to support as vice-presidential poll nominee choice.

Patnaik, who opposed Pranab Mukherjee's candidature for the presidential election, was unable to decide whether to support UPA candidate Hamid Anasari in the vice-president elections, sources close to the chief minister said.

Ansari had met Patnaik here during his visit to the state.

"If BJD opposes Ansari's candidature, it can pose a question mark on Patnaik's secular stand. This is because, barely a week ago he had publicly sought votes for Sangma as he belonged to the tribal and minority community," they said.

Another issue that bothered Patnaik was the NDA candidate for the VP post Jaswant Singh. Since BJP supported Patnaik's candidate in the presidential elections, NDA expected BJD's support in the vice-presidential poll.

A section of BJD was also contemplating to abstain from VP elections because of this situation.

After consulting party leaders and ministers here, Patnaik wished to hear the views of MPs before taking a decision.

The party has 21 MPs--14 in Lok Sabha and 7 in Rajya Sabha.

PTI