New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Monday named senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh as its candidate for the vice presidential poll, setting up a contest with ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate and incumbent Hamid Ansari.
The name of Jaswant Singh, who has served as the finance, external affairs and defence minister, was announced by senior BJP leader L.K. Advani at a press conference here.
"We have unanimously decided that Jaswant Singh will be our vice presidential candidate," Advani said, soon after the NDA meeting to finalise the name of its nominee ended at his residence here.
The vice presidential election will be held Aug 7.
Advani noted that the NDA had also considered the name of Sharad Yadav, but the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader refused to accept the nomination.
The BJP leader said the NDA had decided to contest against a second term for Ansari, as "we do not want to give a walk-over" to the UPA.
He also noted that the NDA has reservations over Ansari's candidature considering that he had abruptly adjourned the Rajya Sabha when the house was debating the Lokpal bill last year.
The NDA meeting came two days after UPA decided to re-nominate Ansari.
The BJP, which Saturday had decided to fight the vice presidential election, held consultations with its allies to decide the NDA candidate amid speculation that key ally JD-U might support Ansari.
The JD-U and another NDA ally, Shiv Sena, broke ranks with the BJP to support UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee for the July 19 presidential poll. However, the Shiv Sena has indicated it will back the NDA candidate for vice president.
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