Who will be the next Vice-President of India?
Will this position go to a Sikh leader this time?
Though the answers lie with the BJP High Command, the possibility of the choice falling upon a candidate from minority communities is high. One of the strongest candidates for this position is former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh who on return from England after a surgery is expected to merge his Punjab Lok Congress with Bharatiya Janata Party. It is not the first time that Capt Amarinder Singh may be merging his party with a national party. Earlier, after an unsuccessful run in the 1992 Assembly elections, he had merged his Shiromani Akali Dal (Panthic) with Congress.
While no official announcement has been made either about merger of Punjab Lok Congress with BJP or naming of a candidate for the Vice President’s post, developments over the past few days are in favour of the Captain who was replaced six months before the completion of his second term as Chief Minister of Punjab. Some of his confidants, including Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, not only joined but also contested the last Assembly elections on a BJP ticket. Capt Amarinder Singh contested as Punjab Lok Congress candidate and lost on his home turf Patiala to AAP candidate.
Indications are that the NDA may name him as its candidate for the Vice President’s post. Other than Capt Amarinder Singh, other candidates in consideration include Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Singh is currently in London for a back surgery. However, a close aide of the former Punjab Chief Minister said no confirmation has been received yet proposing Singh’s name as NDA’s nominee for the Vice President’s post.
In case Capt Amarinder Singh is declared as the NDA candidate, he will become the first Sikh to hold the office of Vice-President.
There is also a possibility that incumbent Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu could be given a second term, but as of now there have been no official deliberations on this.
Going by the present strength of the BJP-led NDA in Parliament, its candidate is all set to become the next Vice President. The electoral college comprises Members of Parliament and the BJP has a huge mandate in the Lok Sabha while in the Rajya Sabha, it is the single-largest party with more than 90 seats.In the last election in 2017, the Opposition had fielded Gopalkrishna Gandhi but he lost to Naidu. Naidu polled 516 votes while Gandhi could manage only 244 votes. The Vice Presidential election is scheduled to be held on August 6.