New Delhi: AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday announced that his party will back NDA candidate Jaswant Singh in the Vice-Presidential polls.
The Chief Minister announced the decision of support after meeting Jaswant Singh on Monday.
The vice presidential election will be held on August 7 with UPA nominee and Vice President Hamid Ansari facing NDA candidate Jaswant Singh.
While the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Sunday decided to abstain from voting in the polls, key UPA ally the Trinamool Congress indicated support for Ansari, who is expected to comfortably defeat Jaswant Singh.
BJD's decision is seen as a blow for Jaswant Singh who was hoping to rope in support from the party. He had earlier said that he was confident of getting the support of the BJD and the AIADMK.
BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said that his party MPs were in favour of not taking part in the election process.
The BJD, which had backed PA Sangma's candidature for the presidential election, has 21 MPs, 14 in Lok Sabha and seven in the Rajya Sabha. Reports said the party is still smarting from the defeat of Sangma in the presidential race.
In a significant move, Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has asked party MPs to attend the luncheon being hosted by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Monday in New Delhi. Sonia had hosted a similar lunch on July 18, a day ahead of the presidential poll.
At the time of the presidential election, Mamata had kept up suspense over supporting UPA presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee till the last minute and announced her party's decision to support him just two days before the July 19 poll.
Trinamool Congress parliamentary party leader in the Lok Sabha Sudip Bandyopadhyay on Sunday said that the party would hold a meeting at 8 pm on Monday to take a decision regarding the vice-presidential poll and finalise the party's strategy for the Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning on August 8.
The Vice President is elected through a direct ballot with the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha members (including nominated) comprising the electoral college. A total of 790 MPs (Lok Sabha 545 and Rajya Sabha 245) are eligible to cast their vote to elect the 14th Vice President.
(With additional inputs from PTI)