The Left parties have drawn up a shortlist of candidates for the vice-presidential poll to initiate consultations with UPA, report HT Correspondents.
The Left parties have drawn up a shortlist of candidates for the vice-presidential poll to initiate consultations with UPA constituents and gauge who on the list commands the “widest acceptance”.
Former diplomat and National Commission for Minorities chairman Hamid Ansari is believed to be on the list that includes Jamia Millia vice-chancellor Mushirul Hasan, Jamia Hamdard University chancellor Saiyid Hamid, former law minister Shiv Shankar and social activist Swami Agnivesh. Ansari could emerge as the final choice of the Left, particularly the CPI-M, which is impressed by his strong academic and secular credentials. His candidature, if it comes through, should also be acceptable to the Congress.
The newly formed United National Progressive Alliance has already declared Lok Sabha MP Rashid Masood as its candidate. The NDA too is likely to field a nominee. But numbers in the two Houses of Parliament are heavily in favour of the UPA-Left-BSP combine.
On Thursday, the CPM’s Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury reportedly met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the issue. During the meeting, the Left leaders forwarded the list of names to the PM.
Congress sources rated the prospects of a Muslim being made the UPA candidate highly. But Yechury, refusing to discuss names, told HT the Left’s objective was to zero in on the name with the “widest acceptance” among parties “with whom we are in consultation”. The CPI’s AB Bardhan, coming out of the meeting of the four Left parties, said the candidate should be able to garner the “broadest possible consensus and agreement”.
NDA decision on July 22
Leaders of the NDA decided to meet again on July 22 to name their nominee, who would file his/her nomination the next day. The leaders, who met at AB Vajpayee’s residence after the presidential poll voting got over, discussed some names but wanted the UPA-Left to make their move first. No leader from the Shiv Sena and Trinamool Congress turned up.
With inputs from Shekhar Iyer