He files nomination in the presence of Manmohan, Sonia

The CPI has decided to support UPA nominee Hamid Ansari for a second term as Vice-President.

The party, which broke ranks with the CPI(M) and decided to boycott the Presidential election scheduled for Thursday, maintained that Mr. Ansari, unlike the UPA Presidential candidate, did not represent any political party.

CPI national secretary D. Raja said Mr. Ansari was the ‘best candidate’ and his party could not back NDA nominee and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh.

There were doubts whether the CPI(M) and the CPI would be on the same page on the Vice-Presidential election after the former made a unilateral announcement of support to Mr. Ansari without consulting other Left parties.

The CPI, the CPI(M) and the Forward Bloc have extended support to Mr. Ansari. The RSP is boycotting both the Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections on the ground that it could not support a UPA candidate as it was opposed to the policies of the Manmohan government.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ansari filed his nomination on Wednesday. The Congress is hoping that the Trinamool, which relented on Tuesday and announced its support to UPA presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee, will back Mr. Ansari as well.

Clarification

This report incorrectly characterised the CPI(M)’s decision to support Hamid Ansari as a “unilateral announcement” made “without consulting other Left parties.”

In a letter to the editor, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat points out that the CPI(M) held consultations with the CPI, the Forward Bloc and the RSP on the matter before announcing its decision. “The RSP had already decided not to support Mr. Ansari and to abstain in the election. The Forward Bloc decided to support Mr. Ansari. Our Party also decided to support Mr. Ansari. The CPI informed us that they would take a decision on the matter only on the 18th when a National Secretariat meeting would be held to discuss the matter. Since the RSP was taking a different stand, it was not possible to have a joint announcement of the four Left parties as envisaged. In such a situation, it was decided that, with the consent of all the parties, we would make separate announcements.”

The error is regretted.

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