Keen to dispel the notion of a chasm between his party and BJP, JD(U), which has backed UPA’s Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee, on Monday supported BJP’s bid for contest in the Vice Presidential election.
Describing his party’s support to Mr. Mukherjee as an “exception”, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said, “Whatever BJP leader L K Advani has said (on Vice Presidential election) is right. It’s a unanimous decision to field Jaswant Singh as NDA’s Vice Presidential nominee.”
Asked whether the Vice Presidential election has united NDA, Mr. Yadav, who is also the convener of the opposition alliance said, “NDA was united earlier also. An exception had happened for Presidential election. We backed Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature because he understands the country. That does not mean we are with Congress.”
Sources said that in the NDA meeting while BJP cited Mr. Ansari’s conduct during discussion on Lokpal Bill in Winter Session as one of the reasons for its reservations against his candidature, Mr. Yadav chose to point that Mr. Ansari had called in marshals to evict MPs protesting against the Women Reservation Bill in 2010.
Mr. Yadav said he did not approve of Mr. Ansari’s conduct in the Upper House then.
The sources said that Mr. Yadav, who declined to accept the offer to become NDA’s Vice Presidential candidate, also suggested the name of BJP leader Najma Heptullah, saying that she was the alliance’s Vice Presidential nominee last time and that her candidature could be repeated.
However, the BJP leaders told him that she has herself declined to be a candidate in the Vice Presidential race.
There is a view in JD(U) that even though Mr. Ansari will have a smooth sail in the Vice Presidential election as the UPA has the required numbers, there was need to clear the misgivings of any rift in NDA and that JD(U) has no intention of deserting the Opposition alliance.