Third Front to put up candidate for vice president


New Delhi : The Third Front, also called the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) consisting of parties not aligned with the Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has decided to put up its own candidate for the vice presidential election to be held next month.

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“With regard to the vice presidential election, the UNPA has decided to put up its own candidate. The choice of the person to contest the election will be announced later,” AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha said Saturday, after UNPA leaders met at the residence of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) president Om Prakash Chautala here.

The front also stuck to its decision taken at its meeting held at the residence of Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh here June 21 to “abstain from voting in the July 19 presidential elections.

“With regard to the presidential elections, we will not support either the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) or the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). We will abstain from voting,” Jayalalitha added as she was joined by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader Brindaban Goswami, MDMK chief Vaiko and former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, apart from Chautala and Amar Singh.

Jayalalitha, who spoke on behalf of the UNPA leaders most of the time, said the decision to set up their candidate was a follow-up of their decision on the presidential election.

“The UNPA has taken a conscious decision not to back the UPA candidate for presidential elections. We cannot have a different yardstick for the vice presidential election,” she said, adding, “we are not contesting to win but will be registering our identity”.

The UNPA also dismissed the suggestion that abstaining from presidential election would be illegal, unconstitutional and in defiance of the Election Commission’s directive.

“We have consulted our legal advisers and there is no bar at all on abstaining,” Jayalalitha said.

The AIADMK chief also added “if the Left decides not to support a Congress/UPA candidate, the UNPA is willing to support a Left candidate.”

Amar Singh had earlier said he was ready to support a Left candidate.

However, on Saturday, he said since he was now part of a larger alliance, he was governed by the joint decision of the alliance.