Eighteen Opposition parties, including Nitish Kumar of JD (U), Congress, Trinamool and Left parties, met in New Delhi this morning and made a decision to field former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as the Opposition candidate for elections to the post of Vice-President.
Gandhi had nearly emerged as the Oppositions Presidential candidate choice but the NDAs nomination of Ramnath Kovind, a Dalit, had forced the joint front of the Congress-led parties to field another prominent Dalit face, Meira Kumar. "If BJP would have opted for an intellectual candidate, they would have gone with someone like Gopalkrishna Gandhi", Sen added.
Others who participated in the meet include Jai Prakash Yadav of the RJD, Hemant Soren of the JMM, D Raja of the CPI and representatives of the CMK, the NCP and the Kerala Congress.
Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to come up with their candidate. It was learnt that there is a broad consensus on the person not being from the Congress camp after Meira Kumar's nomination as presidential candidate.
"The 18 opposition parties have unanimously agreed to field Gopalkrishna Gandhi as their joint candidate for the vice presidential election". For the Vice-Presidential elections, the Congress apparently communicated to other parties that it is willing to accept a nominee from outside the Congress. Gopalkrishna Gandhi's name was acceptable to Trinamool Congress too. Gandhi also served as Ambassador of India in Iceland. Polling for the vice-president's post will take place on August 5 if required. "He wanted to ensure that all parties have endorsed his name and he gracefully accepted our request", O'Brien said at the meeting. Thereafter, he remained Secretary to Vice-President of India (1985-1987), and Joint Secretary to President of India (1987-1992).
The parties also briefly discussed the floor strategy for the upcoming monsoon session of Parliament.