Incumbent Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari will file his nomination papers as the UPA candidate for the vice-presidential election at 11 am on Wednesday. The election is scheduled for August 7.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and leaders of various constituents of the ruling alliance will be present on the occasion.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said that NCP leader and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who had skipped the UPA meeting where Ansari’s candidature was announced, will also join them. “We are hopeful of crossing the 500-mark (of the total 790 votes),” Bansal said, while maintaining that the UPA had an assured support of at least 470 MPs.
NDA candidate Jaswant Singh is likely to file his nomination papers on July 20.
A total of 22 people have so far jumped into the fray, but none of them has been able to mobilise the mandatory 20 proposers, drawn from among the MPs, to meet the basic requirement, in the absence of which their nomination papers will be rejected during scrutiny.
The NDA is hopeful of getting the support of AIADMK and BJD for Jaswant Singh in the backdrop of the support extended by the Opposition to its nominee P A Sangma in the Presidential election. Both parties have not taken any decision on the issue yet. The BJP is also trying to rope in regional outfits like the YSR Congress, TDP, AGP, INLD. YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy’s mother Y S Vijayamma had met NDA convener Sharad Yadav during her visit to Delhi sometime back.
“We are the main Opposition alliance with governments in 11 states,” Yadav said when asked why did the NDA choose to contest the Vice-Presidential poll. Besides, he said, they needed to dispel the perception that the NDA was divided.
The Trinamool Congress, which extended its support to Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday, is yet to take a call on Ansari. TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has reservations vis-a-vis Ansari because of his proximity to the Left parties. Notwithstanding this, Ansari called up Banerjee on Tuesday, seeking her support.
While the CPI likely to back Ansari, the party will take a formal decision on Wednesday.