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UPA renominates Hamid Ansari for vice president

Saturday July 14, 2012 07:52:55 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Incumbent Hamid Ansari was 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 Manmohan Singh's official residence here.

Gandhi 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, Manmohan Singh and Gandhi spoke to Ansari to congratulate him.

Chidambaram said the prime minister had spoken to Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. 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".

Manmohan Singh also spoke to Communist Party of India-Marxist 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.

The home minister said some names were suggested during discussion but decision on Ansari was unanimous.

"Of course, (there was) unanimous decision at the meeting," he said.

Chidambaram said Ansari had accepted the nomination and hoped all parties would welcome the decision and extend support to him.

Trinamool leader and Railway Minister Mukul Roy, who represented his party at the meeting, said his party had suggested names of Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Bose, the niece of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose.

"We spoke our names. They conveyed their names... I will go back to the party. The party will decide," he said.

Roy said some other names were also suggested at the UPA meeting but did not elaborate.

Ansari was in contention as the UPA's presidential candidate along with Mukherjee. Banerjee did not concur with either of the choices and had suggested three names, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chaterjee for the highest constitutional post of the country.

However, her suggestions were not accepted by the Congress.

Ansari was elected vice president in 2007 and his term will come to an end Aug 10.

Election for the vice president's post is scheduled Aug 7. Last date for filing nominations is July 20. 







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