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NDA names Jaswant Singh as its Vice Presidential candidate

New Delhi, Jul 16 (PTI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh was on Monday chosen by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as its unanimous candidate for the August 7 Vice Presidential election against United Progressive Alliance (UPA) nominee Hamid Ansari.

The opposition alliance said it had reservations over the re-nomination of Ansari, particularly the manner in which he conducted the Rajya Sabha when the Lokpal Bill was discussed and the Women's Reservation Bill was passed.

”We have decided not to give them (Congress-led UPA) a walkover... We have unanimously decided that Jaswant Singh will be the NDA candidate in the Vice Presidential poll,” L K Advani, NDA Working President, announced after an NDA meeting.

Advani said Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav had also raised concerns over Ansari's conduct in the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha where marshals were used to oust those opposed to the legislation.

He said the same concerns were shared with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he had called him on Saturday to seek support for Ansari's candidature.

Advani said Yadav, also the NDA convenor, was initially approached to contest the Vice Presidential election, but he declined citing his interest in active politics.

The BJP leader indicated that the NDA would reach out to all such parties, which have not committed their support to the UPA nominee.

Reacting to his nomination, 74-year-old Jaswant Singh said, It is a matter of great respect that the NDA has unanimously chosen me as their candidate for the post of Vice President. It is a big responsibility and also a challenge”.