The Left parties may be taking the initiative to look for a UPA-Left candidate for the post of vice-president but it appears unlikely that they will put up someone from within party ranks.
Prakash Karat, CPI-M general secretary, and his CPI counterpart AB Bardhan met at the CPI headquarters on Sunday. Though the final decision on the nominee will be taken only after the four Left parties — the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and All India Forward Bloc being the other two — meet on July 19, it is learnt that the two bigger parties are not keen on fielding a Left member for the post.
In the meeting, it was also decided to closely monitor the plans of the BJP and United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) on the issue.
So far, the names of three senior Left party members have been doing the rounds as possible candidates: Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee, West Bengal assembly speaker Hashim Abdul Halim and Bardhan himself.
Later on Sunday, Bardhan ruled himself out as a candidate, saying his primary duty was towards his party. The veteran Communist leader said that as CPI general secretary, he would be devoting his time and energy to the upcoming CPI congress in Hyderabad in March 2008.
“I am not a candidate. I am not ready to take up the job even if there is a consensus. There will be no consensus," Bardhan said after the three-day CPI National Council meet.
Bardhan, however, laid down the criterion for the perfect V-P candidate: secular, should be able to conduct Rajya Sabha proceedings, standing in public life, acceptability in UPA-Left and if possible in the UNPA and politically aware, even if not from any political party.
“I do not believe that a political person is only available in political parties. I know several men who are politically conscious but not from any political party," Bardhan said.
The CPI leader said the Left would take the initiative to propose a name. It is learnt that TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu has had a talk with both Karat and Bardhan on the V-P issue on Saturday, asking them about the Left stand.