Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The Bharatiya Janata Party is discussing the names of three 'heavyweights' as the ruling National Democratic Alliance's vice-presidential candidate, a party general-secretary confirmed on Saturday.
He told rediff.com that with NDA partners having a major say in deciding A P J Abdul Kalam as its presidential candidate, the BJP was now adamant that the Vice-President should be from its ranks.
He said this was discussed during an informal party meeting on Friday chaired by party chief K Jana Krishnamurthy.
He said former Rajasthan chief minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Gujarat Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari and Uttar Pradesh Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri were some of the names which were discussed.
"The meeting felt that since the NDA constituents like the Telugu Desam Party and the Trinamool Congress had a major say in Kalam's candidature, the vice-presidential candidate should come from our midst. That is more or less settled," he pointed out.
All the three -- Shekhawat, Bhandari and Shastri -- are considered to be hardliners having close links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Bhandari, who was earlier the Bihar governor, had been moved out of the state following
a bitter political confrontation with state Chief Minister Rabri Devi and sent to Gujarat.
His gubernatorial stint in Bihar came in for criticism for 'helping' the central government in its standoff with Rabri Devi.
Similarly, Shastri recently was criticised by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav
for calling the BSP and the BJP to form the government in Uttar Pradesh, when SP had emerged as the single largest party.
Apprehending a unilateral move by the BJP on the issue of vice-presidentship, Congress on Friday announced that the party would be 'left with no choice' but to contest 'if the ruling NDA tries to impose its candidate instead of reaching a consensus'.
Coverage of the election for the 11th President of India
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