Mohd Hamid Ansari, a seasoned diplomat and a distinguished academic, was on Friday unanimously chosen as the UPA-Left candidate for the Vice Presidential election in a smooth process that contrasted sharply with the one witnessed during the selection for the President's post.
70-year-old Ansari was chosen at a meeting of the ruling alliance and its supporting parties at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which was attended among others by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat.
After the brief meeting of UPA-Left leaders, Gandhi told reporters that "all of us have come to unanimous understanding that Mohd Hamid Ansari would be our candidate."
She said Ansari, currently Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, has an "excellent record" of serving the nation in many capacities, including as civil servant and diplomat, as an academic and in his current position.
Expressing confidence that Ansari's nomination would be widely welcomed, Gandhi appealed to all political parties to extend their support to his candidacy.
While the Third Front has announced the candidature of former Union minister Rashid Masood, who filed his nomination on Friday, the NDA is meeting on Sunday to finalise its nominee.
Karat and Left parties had taken the initiative in suggesting the name of Ansari, who hails from Uttar Pradesh. RJD supremo Lalu Prasad was reported to have some reservations about a Vice Presidential candidate with a non-political background but his concerns appeared to have been addressed by the alliance leaders.