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Although the 18-party informal opposition grouping on Tuesday announced Gopalkrishna Gandhi as their candidate for the August 5 vice-presidential election, this will not have have any bearing on the ruling BJP's strategy, suggest party leaders.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, though refusing to speak on record over Gandhi's candidature, maintained that the question to support him did not arise.
"We are in a winning mode. So, why should we think about who is opposition's candidate," a senior BJP functionary told IANS.
Assured of support from the allies, he said that the ruling side had the numbers and that its candidate would easily sail through the August 5 election.
The BJP leader, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, listed a series of past instances when Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government's policies.
"Be it Godhra or the hard core issues of BJP or Modi becoming Prime Minister, he (Gandhi) missed no opportunity to slam the party and its leaders," he said.
The BJP is likely to hold its parliamentary party meeting on July 13.
According to sources in the party, the name of the NDA candidate would be announced after the parliamantary party meet, which would also be attended by the Prime Minister.
"Except Janata Dal-United (JD-U), all the parties that have supported our presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind have assured us of their support in the vice-presidential election," another senior BJP leader told IANS.
He also said that the candidate would be a politician and that too from the BJP.
The last date for filing nomination papers for the vice-presidential election is July 18, while scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on July 19. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is July 21.
Hamid Ansari has been the Vice President and ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha since August 11, 2007. He won the second term on August 11, 2012. His current term ends on August 10.
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