Opposition Treads Cautiously On VP Election

| Updated: 17 July, 2022 4:04 pm IST
Mamata Banerjee’s AITC will not attend the meeting at Sharad Pawar’s residence

NEW DELHI: The Opposition parties are scheduled to meet at the Delhi residence of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday evening. The agenda for the meeting is to pick up a name for the vice-presidential poll.

Sources told The New Indian that the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC), which was at the forefront in the selection of the common opposition candidate for the Presidential election, will not attend the meeting at Sharad Pawar’s residence.

TMC Parliamentary Party leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay attended the all-party meeting called by the government on Sunday to discuss the functioning of the Parliament in the Monsoon session which is scheduled to begin on Monday.

West Bengal Chief Minister and AITC supremo Mamata Banerjee had led the opposition in selecting its candidate for the presidential election. But once the candidature of Yashwant Sinha was finalised, Banerjee developed cold feet. Citing prior commitments, Mamata Banerjee did not accompany Yashwant Sinha when he filed his nomination on June 27. Also, she did not attend any strategy meetings to plan the campaign for Sinha.

On July 1, Banerjee made many heads turn when she said NDA Presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu could have been a consensus candidate if the BJP had informed them about her candidature.

Sources in the NCP said that the BJP did not reach out to the Opposition camp for a consensus candidate for the vice-presidential poll either. “BJP has an overwhelming majority. They can easily put their candidate in the Upa-Rashtrapati Niwas. No effort was made by them to reach out to the opposition,” said the NCP source.

He further added that the opposition had expected to use the Presidential poll as an opportunity to show its strength, on the contrary, it brought out the fault lines to the fore.

The opposition has a bitter experience while selecting the candidate for the presidential poll. The TMC-led Opposition had picked NCP chief Sharad Pawar, former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi and former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah as its probable Presidential candidate. They all declined to contest.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called a meeting of TMC MPs on July 21 to discuss its plan for the Monsoon session of Parliament and strategy for the Vice-Presidential poll. The last date to file a nomination for the Vice-Presidential poll is July 19.

The Bharatiya Janata Party announced West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar as its Vice-Presidential candidate. His name was finalised in the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting on Saturday evening which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, BJP national general secretary (Org) BL Santhosh and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.

Members of the Parliament vote for selecting the vice-president. In the House strength of 780, 391 is needed to pass the majority mark. The BJP has 394 members currently in the House.

After the BJP had declared Droupadi Murmu as NDA’s candidate for the Presidential poll, some non-NDA parties also declared their support for Murmu. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy have declared support for Murmu.

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