Incumbent Hamid Ansari has emerged as the front-runner for the vice-president’s race even as Congress started discussions with different political parties on the issue.
Apart from talking to JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda on Saturday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also spoke to CPM general secretary Prakash Karat. Ansari’s name was believed to have been first proposed by the Left in 2007 to Congress leadership, leading to his first term as the vice-president.
Karat, however, told HT, “Prime Minister called me and only asked for our opinion on the vice-presidential poll. He didn’t suggest any name and no specific names were discussed.”According to sources, Ansari emerged as the first choice for the UPA after a few rounds of informal consultations within the ruling alliance.
Even as names of J&K Congress chief Saifuddin Soz, Union minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Rajasthan governor Margaret Alva came up during discussions, it was felt Ansari’s candidature would be able to build the widest possible consensus.
“For the past few days, the consultations are going on. We have made it clear that we would prefer somebody who is a person of stature, capable, independent, and is not affiliated to any political party,” CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury told HT.
The Congress officially maintained that no decision has yet been taken. “The consultation process is under way and as and when things fructify, you will definitely get to know,” party spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
Meanwhile, J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah—a key ally of the UPA—tweeted: “I thought PM’s discussions with political parties regarding Hamid Ansari for the post of vice-president were to be confidential until final decision was taken.”