Scrutiny over, three in fray for vice presidential poll


New Delhi : A triangular fight was confirmed Tuesday for the post of vice president as the nomination papers filed by three candidates – Mohammed Hamid Ansari, Najma Heptulla and Rasheed Masood – were found valid after scrutiny.

Support TwoCircles

According to the Rajya Sabha secretary general's office, 33 people filed their papers for the Aug 10 vice presidential election, but only three were found valid.

Rajya Sabha secretary general Yogendra Narain is the returning officer for the election in which the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-Left combine candidate Ansari has an edge over the others.

While Heptulla, a former deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha has been fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Masood is the candidate of the recently formed eight party United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA).

The last day of withdrawal is Friday.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which together with UPA and the Left propped up Pratibha Patil for the presidential election that she won, is expected to extend support to Ansari.

MPs from both houses of parliament will elect the vice president, who presides over the Rajya Sabha and is the second most important dignitary in the order of protocol in the country.

The combined strength of the two houses is 789 MPs. While the Lok Sabha has 542 elected and two nominated members, there are 236 elected and nine nominated members in the Rajya Sabha.

Currently, the UPA and Left enjoy a majority in the two houses of parliament. The NDA claims the support of 240 MPs, but two of its allies – Trinamool Congress and Shiv Sena – have not announced their position yet.

The Trinamool Congress had abstained from the presidential poll and the Shiv Sena voted for ruling alliance candidate Pratibha Patil, the president-elect, in the July 19 presidential election.