Chances of Vice President Hamid Ansari getting another term seem to have dimmed as political alignments are shifting in favour of a fresh candidate.
PM Manmohan Singh called on Ansari last week and is believed to have apprised him about the thinking in the UPA on the vice presidential polls.
For the record, Congress managers are letting it be known that Ansari is also not keen to stay back in office for another five years.
When asked if Ansari had declined another term, Parvathaneni Harish, his officer on special duty, told HT: "We would not like to comment on this issue now."
Ansari is not seen as a hot favourite of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. With 30 members to vote in the vice presidential elections, the SP is a major factor in the UPA’s plans to win against any possible NDA-sponsored contest.
Yadav didn't favour former diplomat Ansari's candidature even for the presidential poll and repeatedly said he doesn't want a 'bureaucrat' as President.
Congress sources indicated that discussions with the allies for a new vice presidential candidate would begin in July. The names of former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi, J&K Congress chief Saifuddin Soz and party veteran Mohsina Kidwai are doing the rounds.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had mentioned Ansari's name to Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee as a probable presidential candidate. A section of the party thinks that after being in the reckoning for the top chair, a second term for Ansari would not be an appropriate offer.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh had batted for Ansari but failed to get the party's backing.