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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hamid Ansari becomes Vice President despite Captain's boycott

Elections in India are festivals – and in most by-elections, money flows ! – not in the Presidential elections, as they were indirect forms.

The elections to the highest post – President of India was held on 19th July 2012.  In the  14th indirect presidential election,  Pranab Mukherjee was elected as the 13th president of India defeating his opponent PA Sangma.  Pranabda was declared winner on 22nd July and was sworn in on 25th  July 2012.   The elections to the post of his Deputy occurred recently and incidentally we have another person from Bengal.  It was a foregone conclusion as Hamid Ansari had the definite edge with the pledged support of more than required number of 396.   His opponent Jaswant Singh had support of less than 200 in the electoral college which comprises 545 members of Lok Sabha and 245 members of Rajya Sabha.

The second-highest office in the Nation is that of the Vice-President who is elected indirectly by an electoral college consisting members of both houses of the Parliament. The Vice President would ascend to the Presidency upon the death, resignation, impeachment, or other situations leading to the vacancy in the Office of President. The normal function of the Vice President is to serve as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Mohammad Hamid Ansari (born in Kolkata ,West Bengal,India on 1 April 1937) is the 13th Vice President of India. Ansari worked as an ambassador and served as Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University from 2000 to 2002. Later he was Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities from 2006 to 2007. He was elected as Vice President of India on 10 August 2007 and took office on 11 August 2007. On 7th August 2012, he was re-elected as Vice president of India.

History repeats itself and exactly 50 years after late philosopher-statesman Dr S Radhakakrishnan’s feat, Hamid Ansari has emulated his footsteps by getting a second term as Vice President. Ansari got 490 votes, defeating NDA’s Vice Presidential candidate Jaswant Singh who got 238 votes.  Lok Sabha Secretary General TK Vishwanathan, the returning officer for the poll, said that 736 out 788 MPs have exercised their right to elect vote.

Though this is no mean achievement, he could not shift to Rashtrapathi Bhavan unlike some of the earlier Vice Presidents did. 
He was the second choice of Congress President Sonia Gandhi for the President’s post and some brinkmanship by TMC leader Mamata Banerjee and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav clinched the issue in favour of Mukherjee.  In the 2007 election, Ansari’s name came as a surprise when the Left parties, supporting the UPA from outside, proposed him and the Congress-led  alliance accepted it.

In his last term the Upper House was abruptly adjourned  on the last day of the winter session  when the House was expected to vote on the Lokpal bill.  Opposition alleged that the move was done to rescue the government from a possible embarrassing defeat.

Back home in Tamilnadu, DMDK president and actor Captain Vijayakanth on Monday said he was in full control of his party and the fact that no one voted in the presidential polls against his wishes only proved this fact. He was reacting to queries during a media interaction about some of his party MLAs distancing themselves from the party. Vijayakanth said his party would boycott the vice-presidential elections as well.  That became the butt of web jokes as the DMDK which has 29 MLAs, has no representation either in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha and thus DMDK had so say on VP election, whatsoever.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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