NEW DELHI: Eighteen opposition parties, including the JD-U, are expected to meet here on July 11 and evolve a strategy for the upcoming vice presidential election, sources said today.
To cement cracks that appeared in the opposition bloc during the presidential poll -- when the JD-U broke ranks to support the NDA's candidate -- the non-NDA parties had decided to meet to discuss the August 5 election, the sources said.
The meeting, convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the Parliament library, will be attended by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and leaders of the other opposition parties.
The parties will also discuss floor management for the monsoon session of Parliament, which starts on July 17.
The process of filing of nominations for the vice presidential poll started on July 4 and will end on July 18.
The sources said every party had been asked to give in their suggestions at the meeting, and the opposition was likely to take a final call on the election.
"So far no names have have been given by the Congress or any other party," CPI national Secretary D Raja said, adding that the names were likely to be discussed -- and possibly finalised -- at the meeting.
The sources said apart from the Congress and JD-U, all other parties -- such as the RJD, TMC, Left, JMM, DMK, NCP, Kerala Congress, AIUDF, SP, BSP, RLD and JD-S -- were slated to take part in the meeting.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's JD-U broke away from the opposition combine on the presidential election with its decision to support NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind instead of opposition nominee Meira Kumar last month.
The government and the opposition has so far not taken any names of possible candidates for the post.
The term of present incumbent Hamid Ansari, who has held the post for two successive spells, comes to an end on August 10.
The candidate of the ruling NDA, which has a majority in the Lok Sabha and received the support of parties such as the AIADMK and BJD for the July 17 presidential polls, is likely to win the contest, given its strength in Parliament.
The electoral college which votes for the vice president, who is also the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha, consists of elected and nominated members of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
The scrutiny will take place on July 19 and the last date for withdrawing from the electoral battle is July 21.
Polling, if required, will take place on August 5 and the votes will be counted on the same evening.
In the vice presidential election, a candidate has to be proposed by 20 MPs, and seconded by another 20.
Members of Parliament will use special pens for marking their choice.
No whip can be issued by political parties as the election is through a secret ballot.
The secretary general of the Rajya Sabha, Shumsher K Sheriff, is the returning officer for the election.