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VP poll: UNPA candidate files nomination

Last updated on: July 20, 2007 16:22 IST

Third Front candidate Rashid Masood on Friday filed nomination papers for the August 10 Vice Presidential poll with backing from regional parties, including AIADMK, which had voted in Thursday's presidential poll defying the grouping's decision to abstain.

Masood, who was accompanied by leaders of all the seven parties of the United National Progressive Alliance, filed one set of papers carrying 40 signatures of proposers and seconders, which included MPs of the AIADMK and MDMK.

After filing the nomination paper, the leaders posed for photographs seeking to put up a united face, a day after MPs from AIADMK, MDMK and SP participated in the voting for electing the successor to A P J Abdul Kalam.

"We are solid as rock," SP leader Amar Singh told media persons adding that the UNPA was committed to providing an anti-BJP, anti-Congress secular alternative.

He said some MPs belonging to UNPA parties had voted out of a confusion created by the Election Commission and senior BJP leader L K Advani that by abstaining they might lose their membership.

Seeking to downplay reports that the Third Front has split, a TDP leader said the UNPA has not been constituted just for the sake of presidential or vice-presidential poll.

"It has a long term programme," he said. 

Singh hit back at CPI general secretary A B Bardhan for his remark that the UNPA will not remain 'for the simple reason that (AIADMK supremo) Jayalalithaa would have gone to that side (the BJP).'

'People in company of Congress should not comment on UNPA,' he said, while his party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, objected to his remark against Jayalalithaa and dismissed it as 'an unwarranted interference.'

Bardhan had on Thursday said he also knew Chandrababu Naidu or SP and some other parties, would not go to that side.

Asked if he felt embarrassed over the development, Naidu said: "It is coalition era. There are some compulsions among political parties. We are not finding anything (wrong) in that... our intention is very clear. We want to give an alternative ..."

Yadav said the Third Front was meant to fight communal forces and sought to draw a parallel between Congress and BJP saying that their policies regarding women, farmers and the poor were similar.

INLD leader O P Chautala said every effort would be made to garner support for Masood. "We will seek support from all," he said.

Masood, who is an SP MP from Uttar Pradesh, said he was confident of victory.

"Filing of nomination means we hope to win," he said.

The UNPA candidate filed his nomination paper in the presence of TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu, MDMK MP C Krishnan, Jharkhand Vikas Party leader Babulal Marandi, AGP leader Sarbananda Sonowal, besides Yadav, Malaisamy and Chautala.

Nearly a dozen others are also in the fray but their nomination papers are likely to be rejected at the time of scrutiny on July 24 on different grounds, Rajya Sabha sources said.

Rajya Sabha Secretary General Yogendra Narain is the Returning Officer for the Vice Presidential poll.            

The NDA, whose leaders met at former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's residence on Thursday night, is yet to decide its candidate. The last date for filing of nomination paper is July 23.

Vajpayee and NDA convenor George Fernandes will discuss with alliance partners the choices for the opposition alliance's vice-presidential candidate. The NDA is expected to meet on July 22 to name its nominee.    

The UPA-Left has begun its search for a nominee to succeed Bhairon Singh Shekhawat amid Left indications that it prefers Hamid Ansari, head of the Minority Commission, for the post.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has given a couple of names to BSP supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati for her consideration for the post of Vice President. The names of former diplomat Abid Hussein and Haryana Governor A R Kidwai are also doing the rounds in political circles for the high office.

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