He polled 490 votes against Jaswant Singh’s 238

History repeated itself on Tuesday after five decades when United Progressive Alliance nominee Hamid Ansari was re-elected Vice-President. He became the second Vice-President to get a second consecutive term after S. Radhakrishnan, who enjoyed two terms from 1952 to 1962.

Mr. Ansari won with a thumping majority against the National Democratic Alliance candidate Jaswant Singh. He polled 490 votes against Mr. Singh’s 238. There was never any doubt about the victory of Mr. Ansari, given the numerical strength of the UPA and other parties supporting him.

The NDA zeroed in on senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Mr. Singh essentially for political reasons. Having faced dissensions within its ranks in the presidential election, the alliance wanted to demonstrate that that was a one-off incident and no meaning should be read into it. Its purpose was served as it managed to line up all the constituents behind Mr. Singh.

The JD(U) and the Shiv Sena broke ranks with the BJP and voted in favour of Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential election.

Out of the 790 members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha who form the electoral college for the vice-presidential election, three are vacant — Mr. Mukherjee was elected President, Vijay Bahuguna became Chief Minister of Uttarakhand and the election of BJP MP J. Shanta was set aside by High Court.

Of the remaining 787 members, 47 MPs did not cast their votes. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said 21 members from the Biju Janata Dal, 11 from the Telugu Desam Party, 6 from the Congress and supporting parties, including ailing Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, and two nominated members did not cast their votes. T.K. Vishwanathan, Lok Sabha Secretary General and Returning Officer, said eight votes were declared invalid.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had named Mr. Ansari as the second choice of her party for the Presidential election after Pranab Mukherjee.

As Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Ansari faced criticism when the Opposition parties expressed unhappiness at the manner in which he “abruptly” adjourned the House on the night of December 29, 2011 during the debate on the Lokpal Bill. Barring that one occasion, the first stint of the 75-year-old former IFS officer and Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh University was devoid of controversy.

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