Opposition, ruling party to pick candidates for Vice President poll

New Delhi: As the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Vice President poll, the ruling BJP-led NDA and the opposition will have to pick candidates in July itself.

The ruling party has no dearth of candidates but the opposition has to field a joint candidate in the election to challenge the BJP as the numbers are stacked in favour of the latter.

Incumbent Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu could be given a second term while West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Jammu Kashmir LG Manoj Sinha are said to be front runners from the ruling camp. But as of now there has been no official deliberations for the post, sources said.

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Though opposition has not discussed the issue but sources said that they will field a joint candidate for the post, however, the opposition has very less chance since in this election the voters are members of Parliament and the BJP has huge mandate in the lower house while in the upper house it is the single largest party having more than 95 seats.

Sources say that in view of the political turmoil in the Maharashtra, someone from the state could be fielded from the opposition camp. The opposition in the Presidential election has fielded Yashwant Sinha but not all the opposition parties are on board yet.

In the last election, the opposition fielded Gopalkrishna Gandhi but he lost to Venkaiah Naidu. This time also Gandhi’s name was proposed for the Presidential candidate but he declined the offer.

Venkaiah Naidu in 2017 polled 516 votes defeating the opposition’s Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who could manage only 244 votes.

The Election Commission on Wednesday announced the Vice Presidential election which is scheduled to be held on August 6 (Saturday). The date on which counting, if required, shall be taken on the same day, said the EC in an official statement.

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