18 parties pick Gopalkrishna Gandhi as Opposition VP nominee: Sonia
Eighteen opposition parties on Tuesday chose former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as their joint candidate for vice president, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said.
Gopalkrishna Gandhi's name was endorsed by all 18 opposition parties, including the JD(U), which had broken ranks with the opposition to back NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the presidential election.
"The leaders of 18 opposition parties got together to decide on the vice presidential candidate. All of them spoke in support of Gopal Gandhi and have decided to field him as their joint candidate for the vice presidential election.
"We spoke to him, after which he has agreed to be the joint opposition candidate for the post of vice president of India," the Congress president said after the meeting.
After leaders of all parties unanimously picked him for the post, Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad, TMC's Derek O'Brien and CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury talked to him over the telephone to seek his consent.
"He asked for 10-15 minutes to consider (the offer) after which he was again called on the telephone and he agreed to be the candidate for vice president of India.
"He actually expressed his gratitude to all the leaders who met here to decide on his candidature," Sonia Gandhi said.
Sources said opposition leaders took only 15 minutes to zero in on Gopal Gandhi's name. His name was the only one discussed and was unanimously supported.
TMC's O'Brien was the first to propose Gopal Gandhi's name and was followed by BSP's Satish Misra, CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury and then all others.