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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is set to announce its vice-presidential candidate by Sunday, while Opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi is likely to file his nomination papers on Monday.
In addition, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar has invited political leaders for the customary pre-session all party meeting. The monsoon session of Parliament begins on Monday. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has also invited leaders for a dinner meeting.
Opposition's presidential candidate Meira Kumar is slated to meet the leaders of 17 Opposition parties supporting her at Parliament House Annexe on Sunday evening. Opposition vice-presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi will also be present.
NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind will meet leaders of political parties supporting his candidature at a separate meeting at the same venue. The voting to elect President Pranab Mukherjee's successor is on Monday.
The last day for filing of nominations for vice-presidential election is Tuesday. Several names have been speculated about NDA's vice-presidential candidate. These names include Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla. There hasn't been a vice-president from the South since 1997.
The Vice-President is also the Chairperson of Rajya Sabha, where the NDA is in minority, and a key consideration in the choice of the candidate could be legislative experience, BJP sources said. The NDA is unlikely to reach the majority mark in Rajya Sabha until 2022.
However, the candidate could also be a surprise choice, as was NDA's presidential candidate Kovind.
The NDA is set to comfortably win both elections. It commands over 60 per cent votes in the presidential electoral college, with several non-NDA parties also supporting Kovind's candidature. These non-NDA parties are Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), YSR Congress (YSRCP), Janata Dal (United) or JD(U), Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). The presidential electoral college comprises elected members of two houses of Parliament and of all legislative assemblies.
The NDA claims to have a support of 550 of the 788 Members of Parliament in the vice-presidential electoral college. The vice-presidential electoral college comprises 543 Lok Sabha and 245 Rajya Sabha MPs.