Congress and other major opposition parties will meet here on Tuesday to decide on their vice presidential candidate while the ruling BJP is expected to finalise its nominee by July 13.
If the President’s election in which both the BJP-led NDA and Congress-led opposition have fielded their respective nominees is an indicator, a contest is expected for the vice presidential election also.
Opposition sources claim that no name has cropped up even in informal discussions. The Congress itself is said to be not keen on putting up its own candidate, they said.
The meeting of opposition parties, convened at the Parliament Library Building, is likely to be attended by 18 parties including Janata Dal-United, which is backing NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the July 17 presidential election.
However, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will not attend the meet and his party will be represented by senior leader Sharad Yadav.
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI leader D. Raja, SP General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav and BSP leader Satish Mishra are among prominent opposition leaders who will attend the meeting.
Sources in the opposition camp said their choice of candidate will be preferably from south India and non-Congress.
“If the name of the candidate is finalised tomorrow (Tuesday), we will announce it,” a senior opposition party leader said.
Meanwhile, the BJP is likely to hold its parliamentary party meeting on July 13 or the day after. Sources in the BJP said the name of the NDA candidate will be announced after the parliamantary party meet, which will also be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Assured of support from the allies, the BJP is confident that its candidate will easily sail through the August 5 election.
“Except JD-U, all the parties which have supported our candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential election have assured us of their support in the vice presidential election,” a BJP functionary said.
He also said that the candidate would be a politician and that too from the Bhartiya Janata Party. Sources said that BJP is looking for a candidate from south India.
The last date for filing nomination for the vice presidential election is July 18, while scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on July 19. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is July 21.
Hamid Ansari has been Vice President and ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha since August 11, 2007. He won the second term on August 11, 2012. His current term ends on August 10.