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
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
Gandhi said Ansari would complete his term as vice president in a
"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
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
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
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
"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
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.