Former union minister and senior Congress leader Margaret Alva is pitted against NDA candidate and West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar.
Opposition parties announced Sunday that former Union minister and governor Margaret Alva is their candidate for the vice-presidential election scheduled to be held next month.
Alva has been announced as the Opposition candidate for the post of Vice President of India.
"It is a privilege and an honour to be nominated as the candidate of the joint opposition for the post of Vice President of India. I accept this nomination with great humility and thank the leaders of the opposition for the faith they've put in me. Jai Hind," Alva tweeted soon after the opposition parties announced her name.
"Opposition's candidate for the post of Vice President of India to be Margaret Alva," NCP chief Sharad Pawar said after an all-party meet by the opposition parties in New Delhi.
Pawar said, "17 parties are on board for this unanimous decision. Our collective thinking is Alva will file the VP nomination on Tuesday."
Earlier, the BJP named West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, a Jat leader from Rajasthan with socialist background, as the ruling National Democratic Alliance's vice presidential candidate.
"We are trying to contact Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal. Last time they supported our joint presidential candidate," he said, adding that even JMM is together with opposition parties in this election. Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said, "We are all together in this election".
Among the attendees were Congress' Mallikarjun Kharge and Jairam Ramesh, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja and Binoy Viswam, Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut, DMK's T R Baalu and Tiruchi Siva, SP's Ram Gopal Yadav, MDMK's Vaiko and TRS' K Keshava Rao.
The RJD's A D Singh, IMUL's E T Mohammed Basheer and Kerala Congress (M)'s Jose K. Mani were also present. The numbers in the electoral college are firmly stacked in favour of the ruling NDA combine.
Dhankhar's election as vice president, who is also the ex-officio chairperson of Rajya Sabha, is almost a certainty as the BJP has a majority in the electoral college comprising members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Making the announcement, BJP president J P Nadda lauded Dhankhar as a "kisan-putra" (son of farmer) who, he said, established himself as a "people's governor".
Out of Parliament's current strength of 780, the BJP alone has 394 MPs, more than the majority mark of 390. The BJP parliamentary board in a meeting, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders, picked the 71-year-old Dhankhar after deliberating over several names from different backgrounds, Nadda said.
After the announcement, Modi tweeted, "Jagdeep Dhankhar Ji has excellent knowledge of our Constitution. He is also well-versed with legislative affairs. I am sure that he will be an outstanding Chair in the Rajya Sabha & guide the proceedings of the House with the aim of furthering national progress."
Soon after his name was announced, Dhankhar tweeted, "Thank you Narendra Modi ji for nominating me as the Vice President candidate for the vice presidential election." Since taking over as the West Bengal Governor in July 2019, Dhankhar has had several run-ins with the Mamata Banerjee government.
While his proactive conduct has drawn criticism from the state's ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJP has backed him, noting that he had stuck to constitutional provisions to ask questions of the Banerjee government. The TMC had also demanded his removal as governor.
Unlike the presidential election when the opposition camp had announced their nominee Yashwant Sinha ahead of NDA's Droupadi Murmu, leading to several non-BJP parties including even Congress allies Shiv Sena and the JMM veering towards Murmu, this time the like-minded parties wanted to wait for the announcement of the NDA candidate.
The last date for filing nominations for the VP election is July 19.
On June 21, the Opposition parties had announced Yashwant Sinha as their candidate for the presidential elections to be held on July 18. It was after this that the BJP had named Droupadi Murmu as the NDA’s candidate for the presidential polls.