New Delhi: BJP and its allies may not have the numbers to win the vice-presidential election but the main opposition is clear that UPA should not be given a "walkover" and there should be a contest to send across a message to the electorate.
BJP continued to be evasive today on the issue even as rumours were rife that Congress is testing the waters for giving another term to vice president Hamid Ansari.
UPA ally TMC has reportedly floated the names of Mahatma Gandhi's kin Gopal Krishna Gandhi and Krishna Bose, a relative of freedom fighter Subash Chandra Bose.
Asked if BJP is open to supporting Ansari or any of the TMC candidates, party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "I cannot discuss individual candidates. That is a collective decision to be taken by the NDA. We will discuss the issue within the NDA."
Sources said BJP may not put up a candidate as the numbers are stacked against it. The party is scouting for a candidate from one of the NDA allies or a non-Congress candidate like P A Sangma to come forward.
Supporting TMC is not being ruled out by the BJP as it senses in this an opportunity to embarrass the Congress.
"We (NDA) can definitely contest. Why should we give a walkover to the Congress. But the strategy is yet to be finalised," Prasad said.
Asked if BJP is miffed with Ansari after the 29 December controversy in Rajya Sabha on the Lokpal Bill, the BJP MP said, "He is the vice-president of the country. Keeping the dignity of the post he holds in mind, I would not like to comment now (on his possible candidature for VP)."