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New Delhi: Incumbent Hamid Ansari was on Saturday chosen as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate in the vice presidential election but key constituent of the alliance Trinamool Congress did not concur with the choice and deferred a final decision on its stance.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi made the announcement of Ansari’s candidature for another term as vice president at a meeting of UPA parties’ leaders at Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s official residence here.
Sonia said Ansari would complete his term as vice president in a few days.
“He has presided over Rajya Sabha with dignity and distinction. UPA is honoured to nominate him for a second term as vice president of India,” she said.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram later described Ansari’s choice as ‘unanimous’ though Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy said the party had suggested names of former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and former MP Krishna Bose.
Shortly after the decision was made, Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia spoke to Ansari to congratulate him.
Chidambaram said the Prime Minister had spoken to BJP leader LK Advani before the UPA meeting to seek support for Ansari. He said the Prime Minister had also spoken to Samajawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, and that the two leaders had ‘welcomed the decision’.
Dr Singh also spoke to CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat.
Chidambaram said the decision to nominate Ansari was ‘accepted by all leaders present’ and all parties, including the Trinamool Congress, applauded the announcement.
However, he added that he was not saying anything on behalf of the Trinamool Congress. The party, led by Mamata Banerjee, has also differed with the Congress on its choice of Pranab Mukherjee as the Presidential candidate.
Ansari was elected vice president in 2007 and his term will come to an end on August 10.
Election for the vice president’s post is scheduled on August 7. Last date for filing nominations is July 20. (IANS)