Unlike his cousin, Rajmohan Gandhi, he has never contested an election, and barring a miracle, his debut will in all likelihood be on the losing side. He has also been the Secretary to the Vice President from 1985 to 1987, Joint Secretary to President from 1987 to 1992, finally serving as a Secretary to President in 1997.
A retired IAS officer and diplomat, Gandhi's nomination is steeped in symbolism. In 2002, he became Ambassador of India in Norway. He also served as High Commissioner to South Africa in 1996, where he earned a popular repute, as reported by the Outlook.
That is best demonstrated by the fact that in the opposition bloc supporting Gandhi are the Left parties, which were bitterly critical of him when he was the governor of West Bengal from 2004 to 2009.
Gandhi's literary career encompasses the Hindi translation of Vikram Seth's "Suitable boy", the play, "Dara Shukoh", and several English non fictions.
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-He was approached by Mamata Banerjee for vice-presidential candidacy in 2012, which he declined. Mr Gandhi is the grandson Mahatma Gandhi and a former bureaucrat.
The meeting was attended by JD (U), which over the Presidential poll had interrupted ranks with the Opposition. The Opposition party meeting had top leaders in attendance including Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Derek O'Brien from TMC, Sitaram Yechury from CPI (M), Omar Abdulla of NC, Naresh Agarwal from SP and Satish Chandra Mishra from BSP. The electoral college which votes for the vice president, consists of elected and nominated members of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The term of present incumbent Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who has held the post for two successive spells, comes to an end on 10th of next month.
Polling for the vice-president's post will take place on 5 August if required.