After much speculation, the NDA today named BJP veteran Jaswant Singh as its candidate for the Vice Presidential election next month.
Jaswant Singh will now be fighting against Hamid Ansari, UPA's vice-presidential candidate.
While announcing the name, senior BJP leader LK Advani said, "We have reservations against Hamid Ansari for the way he adjourned Rajya Sabha during the Lokpal debate." Advani added that the BJP felt Yashwant Singh was the perfect candidate to be the Vice President of India.
Advani also alleged that UPA did not consult them on the Vice Presidential election, and had declared Ansari's name without any prior discussion.
Speaking after the announcement was made meanwhile, Jaswant Singh said he was honored to have been nominated. "I thank all the leaders, I am honoured," he said.
Earlier, reports said that the BJP had met Sharad Yadav and urged him to become a Vice Presidential candidate to give Ansari a serious fight.
However, sources in the BJP told PTI that Yadav was not too keen as the numbers are stacked heavily in favour of UPA nominee Hamid Ansari.
Responding to Shard Yadav not contesting, Advani said," He wants to remain in active politics, that is why he declined the offer to contest Vice President elections."
The name of Najma Heptullah as a possible candidate was also doing the rounds as she too had expressed interest in contesting the poll. She had fought the VP election against Ansari in 2007.
Meanwhile, former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi put a lid on speculation about his entry into the Vice Presidential race.
“I have thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for having thought of me and suggested to the UPA partners my name for the Vice-Presidential election,” he said in Chennai.
Asked whether any other leader had requested him to enter the fray, Gandhi told PTI, “Some people approached me, but I said thank you. I will not (contest).”
He said he had also congratulated Ansari yesterday after his name was announced by the UPA. With the UPA, SP and BSP backing the candidature of 75-year-old Ansari, a career diplomat, his second term in the high office is a certainty.
With inputs from PTI