M A I N   N E W S

Second term for Ansari as Vice-Prez
Polls 490 votes, while Jaswant gets 238
To be sworn in on Saturday
Anita Katyal/TNS

New Delhi, August 7
Ruling UPA nominee Hamid Ansari was today elected Vice-President of the country for a second successive term in a largely one-sided electoral battle. He will be sworn in at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Saturday.

Hamid Ansari polled 490 of the 736 votes cast while his opponent NDA candidate Jaswant got 238 votes. The 75-year-old former diplomat is only the second person to get a second term as Vice-President after S Radhakrishnan.

The result of the election was a foregone conclusion as the numbers were stacked in favour of the ruling alliance. It managed to get the backing of its estranged ally Trinamool Congress and the parties extending it outside support. These include arch rivals, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party. The Left parties also supported Hamid Ansari.

The BJP-led NDA, which insisted on contesting the election although it knew that it was a losing battle, drew solace from the fact that the the UPA candidate could not touch the 500 mark. “We have pushed them under 500 votes,” said BJP spokespersons Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Hussain after the results were declared. Hamid Ansari’s poll managers had said he would get more than 500 votes.

Having suffered an erosion in its ranks during the presidential elections when two key BJP allies — Janata Dal (U) and the Shiv Sena — voted for the UPA candidate, the NDA wanted to use the vice-presidential poll to signal that its alliance is intact. The NDA voted en bloc for Jaswant Singh, who also got the added support of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalitha.

The result of the vice-presidential election, which was preceded by Pranab Mukherjee’s landslide victory in the Presidential poll, is akin to a victory in a confidence vote as it comes on the eve of the monsoon session of Parliament. This has emboldened the ruling alliance to tackle the Opposition salvos with greater confidence. The election of the deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha is next on the agenda. After today’s one-sided win, UPA managers are sure their candidate, most likely PJ Kurien, will sail though without any difficulty.

Of the total of 788 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, who were eligible to vote, 736 turned up to cast their ballot. While eight votes were declared invalid, there were as many as 47 abstentions. These included 21 members of the BJD, 11 of the TDP and two of the RSP, which had declared their intention to abstain.

Six UPA members did not vote. These included the ailing Vilasrao Deshmukh.
The abstentions

21 members of the BJD, 11 of the TDP and two of the RSP
Six UPA members did not vote. They are the ailing Vilasrao Deshmukh, Trinamool’s Suman Kabir and Kakoli Dastidar, Brij Bhushan Sharma of the Congress and nominated members Mrinal Miri and MS Swaminathan





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