New Delhi: The numbers are stacked heavily in favour of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) nominee Hamid Ansari in the vice-presidential election even though Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Jaswant Singh has declared that he is not contesting just for the sake of it.
The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha comprise the Electoral College for the vice-presidential election and have a combined strength of 789 members with the halfway mark at 395.
The UPA without the Trinamool Congress, which is yet to reveal its cards, has 349 votes. But with the support of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party the number rises to 416, which is well over the halfway mark.
Meanwhile, the CPI(M) and Forward Block have also decided to support Ansari for a second term, which may make it difficult for the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool to support Ansari, which in turn might further sour its ties with the Congress.
On the other hand the NDA has only 217 votes and insufficient to ensure Jaswant Singh's victory.
Keen to ensure that Ansari, who is the current Vice-President, does not get a walkover, NDA leaders met on Monday following which senior BJP leader LK Advani while announcing Jaswant Singh's candidature also criticised the incumbent's role during parliamentary proceedings on the Lokpal and Women's Empowerment Bills.
Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav was the BJP's first choice but the NDA convenor declined the offer, reportedly unwilling to give up active politics.