New Delhi, Jul 10 (PTI) The Left parties may not be averse to discussing the candidature of a contender from the Congress for the August 5 vice presidential election, sources said ahead of the opposition’s meeting tomorrow to discuss the strategy for the poll.
With the presidential poll being a ‘Dalit versus Dalit contest’, the idea of fielding a candidate from the community may not find many takers at the meeting, sources in the Left parties said, virtually ruling out such a possibility.
They maintained that no names have been discussed among them “even informally” for the election for which the numbers are stacked heavily in favour of the BJP-led NDA which has 550 of the total 790 MPs.
Only members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha vote in vice presidential election.
“Earlier there were reports that non-Congress opposition parties want to field a non-Congress candidate for the vice presidential poll. But we are not averse to discussing candidature of a Congress contestant,” they said.
The sources said the presidential poll in which Ramnath Kovind of the NDA is pitted against Meira Kumar, a former Lok Sabha speaker and nominee of the 17-party opposition, should not be viewed as a ‘Dalit versus Dalit contest’, but a “battle of ideologies”.
However, they added that fielding a joint candidate from the community will not be considered “strongly”. “All elections cannot have contestants from one community,” they said.
The sources said the opposition should announce the name of its joint candidate before the ruling alliance does unlike what happened in the case of the presidential poll.
“There is a feeling that the opposition should declare its candidate first for the vice presidential poll even though the numbers are not in our favour,” they said.
When asked about the probable candidates, the sources said no names have been discussed yet, not “even informally”.
The term of vice president Hamid Ansari ends on August 10.
Polling, if required, will take place on August 5 and the votes will be counted the same evening.
Ansari had secured 490 votes in the vice presidential election in 2012 against opposition’s Jaswant Singh, who had clinched 238 votes.
S Radhakrishnan (1952 and 1957), Mohammad Hidyatullah (1979) and Shankar Dayal Sharma (1987) are the only ones to have been elected vice president unopposed.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.