Gopalkrishna Gandhi is Opposition’s vice-presidential nominee: Sonia Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi is the Opposition candidate for the vice-presidential election, Congress president Sonia Gandhi announced on Tuesday.
Eighteen parties decided on Gandhi as their vice presidential candidate, Sonia said.
Gandhi is a former governor of West Bengal during the Left regime.He is also a former bureaucrat and a diplomat.
His name was initially suggested by the Left parties’ for the Presidential candidate last month but finally Meira Kumar became the unanimous Opposition nominee.
Sources said that only Gandhi’s name was discussed as 18 parties, including Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) met to decide on a nominee.
“We have spoken to Gopalkrishna Gandhi. He has agreed to be the Opposition’s candidate,” said Sonia Gandhi.
While the Opposition had waited for the NDA to announce a candidate before it announced its own nominee for the Presidential election, it decided to go ahead in naming a vice-presidential candidate so as not to give the NDA an upper hand.
In both the presidential and vice-presidential elections the NDA’s brute majority is likely to see its candidates through. The Opposition parties, however, expect that Gandhi may get additional votes from some fence sitters like BJD.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee did not attend the opposition’s meeting to pick their vice-presidential nominee on Tuesday. She, however, congratulated Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
The elections for the next vice-president will be held on August 5. Outgoing vice-president Hamid Ansari completes his term on August 10. MPs of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha vote to elect the vice president.
Ironically, Nitish Kumar who did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, had mooted the initial idea for a united Opposition candidate but later decided to support the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the Presidential election to be held on July 17.
His absence in the opposition’s meeting on the vice-presidential election is also an indication that Kumar may prefer to side himself with the ruling dispensation, which has a comfortable winning margin. The Opposition, however, expects that Gandhi’s candidature might help in getting back Nitish Kumar’s support.
Trinamool’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien represented the party at Tuesday’s meeting while Sharad Yadav stood in for the JD(U).
The BJP-led NDA is yet to nominate its candidate.
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