CPI(M) favours non-Cong. candidate for Vice-President
Vice-President election: Manmohan calls up Mamata, Bardhan
Trinamool pits Gopal Gandhi for Vice President
As Congress intensified efforts for a consensus candidate for Vice-President, the CPI(M) on Thursday said it is in favour of a person who does not belong to Congress.
This was conveyed by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had recently contacted him as part of efforts to seek support of political parties in selection of a candidate in the Vice-Presidential election.
“We have told the Prime Minister that we would like to have a person who does not belong to Congress party to be the Vice-President,” Mr. Karat told reporters in when asked about CPI(M)’s choice for the Vice-President’s post.
Observing that it was for the UPA to decide whom it wants to put forward, the CPI(M) veteran said the candidate should also have a “stature and a distinguished background”.
Mr. Karat, who is here for the party’s three-day state committee meeting, said it was now up to the Congress to decide, after which the CPI(M) would respond.
The CPI(M) leader’s observation comes in the midst of the Congress giving broad hints that Hamid Ansari is a frontrunner in the Vice-Presidential race. The CPI(M) has extended support to the UPA’s Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday night stepped up efforts to drum up support for Hamid Ansari for a second tenure in the post of Vice-President, elections to which are scheduled for August 7, 2012 as he spoke to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Communist Party of India leader A.B. Bardhan.
Dr. Singh rang up Ms. Banerjee but there was no official word on what transpired between the two leaders while CPI national secretary D. Raja said the Prime Minister spoke to Mr. Bardhan and his party colleague Sudhakar Reddy over phone seeking the Left party’s support for Mr. Ansari for the Vice-President’s post.
Dr. Singh spoke to Ms. Banerjee, who was on a tour of North Bengal, after which the TMC decided to attend a meeting convened by the United Progressive Alliance in New Delhi on July 14, 2012 to decide on their candidate for Vice-President.
“Prime Minister talked to Mamata Banerjee over phone,” TMC Rajya Sabha MP Kunal Ghosh told PTI from North Bengal.
Ms. Banerjee has asked Railway Minister and her close aide Mukul Roy to attend the July 14, 2012 UPA meeting, he said.
“It will be after a long gap that Trinamool Congress will be attending a UPA meeting, which is a significant development,” he said.
Mr. Ghosh, however, said Trinamool has not taken any decision on its stand on the Presidential and the Vice-Presidential elections. “Whatever decision the party takes will be announced”, he added.
The Trinamool had earlier said Ms. Banerjee would announce the party’s decision on the Presidential poll three days ahead of the election on July 19, 2012.
Mr. Raja said the CPI leaders conveyed to the Prime Minister that the party’s Central Secretariat will meet in New Delhi on July 18, 2012 and take a decision on the Vice-Presidential election.
Trinamool Congress is said to be keen on proposing the name of former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi as its choice as the Vice Presidential candidate.
The name of Krishna Bose, former Lok Sabha member and niece of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, is also being floated by the party, though Mr. Gandhi could be their prime choice, party sources said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last night spoke to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, stepping up efforts to drum up support for Hamid Ansari for a second tenure in the post of Vice President, elections to which are scheduled for August 7.
However, there is strong speculation that Railway Minister Mukul Roy, who has been asked by Ms. Banerjee to attend the UPA meeting on Saturday, may propose that Mr. Gandhi be made the nominee of the ruling coalition for Vice President.
On the Presidential election, Trinamool Congress has said its would announce the party’s strategy three days ahead of the poll slated for July 19.
Trinamool Congress has maintained silence on whether it would support UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee or abstain.
The party has asked all its MPs and MLAs to be present in Kolkata from July 16 onwards.
If it decides to vote, all the electors would exercise their franchise in Kolkata and has sought permission for this from the Secretary General of Rajya Sabha, who is the Returning Officer, the sources said.
They said the Trinamool Parliamentary Party would meet on July 17 in the eastern metropolis to decide on the Presidential poll.
Last evening, Singh spoke to the West Chief Minister, who was on a tour of North Bengal, after which Trinamool Congress decided to attend the July 14 meeting to decide on the Vice Presidential poll candidate. The last date for nomination for the Vice President election is July 20.