Gopalkrishna Gandhi unanimous choice of 18 parties for VP elections: Sonia

Gopal Krishna Gandhi

Opposition parties on Tuesday unanimously made a decision to pick former West Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi as its candidate for the post of vice-president.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi was amongst the opposition's shortlisted candidates for presidential poll, but lost out narrowly to former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, once the opposition decided it had to field a Dalit candidate to deny the BJP a chance to use Ram Nath Kovind's candidature to make inroads amongst the Dalits.

Informally, opposition leaders had been discussing possible candidates for the last few days and had agreed to put a final seal of approval on Gopal Gandhi's candidature at the meeting convened by the Congress President.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi was the Left parties' choice for the Presidential polls too.

The Opposition's attempt is to claim an edge in the contest as the BJP is yet to come up with a name for the post. Leaders from 18 Opposition parties met at the Parliament House and unanimously picked Gopalkrishna.

It was not important whether the Opposition candidate in the presidential and vice-presidential elections won or not.

Mr. Yadav also said that the JD (U) remained "committed to Opposition unity" and that his party would back the Opposition candidate for Vice-President. Gandhi also served as Ambassador of India in Iceland. "He wanted to ensure that all parties have endorsed his name and he gracefully accepted our request", O'Brien said at the meeting.

The Vice-Presidential election will take place on August 5 and votes will be counted the same evening, according to a notification from the Election Commission.

The Opposition floor management for the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which starts on 17 July, was also on agenda.

"I will be attending the meeting as [Bihar Chief Minister] Nitish ji has a meeting of party MLAs that day in Patna", senior party leader Sharad Yadav told The Hindu.

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