The ruling UPA is likely to name its vice-presidential candidate at a meeting on Saturday.
Congress sources indicated that the name of incumbent Vice-President Hamid Ansari has been finalised and a formal announcement will be made at the meeting to be attended by allies by, including the sulking Trinamool Congress.
Indications are that the opposition NDA may see yet another split in its ranks. According to JD(U) sources, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar may back Ansari once the UPA formally declares his name.
Kumar, who enjoys a good rapport with the vice-president, had favoured Ansari's name for the president's post. When the Congress decided on Pranab Mukherjee's candidature, Kumar quickly announced his support for the former finance minister, breaking away from the BJP's decision to back non-Congress nominee PA Sangma.
Similarly for the vice-president's poll, the BJP is mulling whether to support a non-Congress candidate in consultation with its allies. It is hoping that a contest may be inevitable if the Trinamool puts up a candidate against Ansari.
"I cannot discuss individual candidates. That is a collective decision to be taken by the NDA. We will discuss the issue within the NDA," party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
Interestingly, Trinamool, which had boycotted the previous UPA meeting on the presidential election, has decided to send railway minister Mukul Roy for the July 14 consultation to be held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence.
The Trinamool had reportedly floated the names of Mahatma Gandhi's kin Gopal Krishna Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose's relative Krishna Bose for vice-president's post.
Sources, however, said a majority of UPA allies and supporting parties have all vetted Ansari's name.
"He is the best option for us," said a senior Congress functionary.