With the stage set for the election of Vice President of India, as the notification for filing of nominations would commence on Friday, informal discussions within the Congress party have pushed to keep the Vice President’s job within the UPA.
Congress sources indicated that the Vice President would be its to choose and preferably an eminent political personality.
As of now, the name of Vice President Hamid Ansari, who was a strong contender for the UPA’s presidential candidate, is being discussed in Congress circles. However, opinion is divided over Ansari's choice for a second term.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Party sources say odds are against Ansari, even though a small section within the Congress feels that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s confidence in Ansari guarantees him the post.
Congress circles feel that if a Muslim is to be made vice president there are several candidates of good stature who could be considered. These include recently retired Chief Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi and former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.
One of the major concerns of the Congress is that if Hamid Ansari continues as vice president, he would emerge as a front runner for the President’s job in 2017. Veteran Congress leaders recall that of the 11 vice presidents so far, only S Radhakrishnan was repeated for the second term. This historical precedence goes against Ansari’s odds. Moreover, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Bannerjee, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, as well as JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav (among others) are opposed to Ansari gaining reelection.