Mamata, Mulayam throw political googly, reject Congress's presidential candidate
New Delhi, June 13 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who met Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav here on Wednesday evening to discuss the presidential candidate, came out with the names of former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee as the apt candidates for the coveted post.
Both Mamata and Mulayam appeared to be on the same wavelength with regard to the presidential candidate.
"Our first choice for President is APJ Abdul Kalam, second choice is PM Manmohan Singh and third choice is Somnath Chatterjee," said Mulayam after meeting Mamata.
The latest developments appear to be a major blow for the ruling Congress Party, as the two leaders have rejected the names of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari as figured during Mamata's talks with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Mamata, who met Sonia Gandhi earlier in the day, remained non-committal over the UPA chairperson's suggestion and said that she would revert to the issue after discussing it with her Trinamool Congress colleagues.
"I had a detailed discussion with her. Sonia Gandhi told that Pranab Mukherjee is first choice for President and the second choice is (Vice-President) Hamid Ansari," she told media here earlier today.
Banerjee also said that she had told Gandhi that she would go back and discuss with her Trinamool Congress colleagues and revert on the issue.
Banerjee had earlier today also rubbished reports that she has been demanding for a financial package for her state in return for joining hands with the UPA over its presidential candidate.
"I am going to meet Sonia Gandhi. Our demand for three years moratorium on debt repayment should not be related to the Presidential polls. Whenever PM or Sonia Gandhi call me I go and meet them. That is the decorum of the system. Every time I come to Delhi someone plants a rumour," she told the media ahead of her meeting with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
Banerjee, who arrived here on Tuesday for consultations with Gandhi, had also met Mulayam Singh Yadav here last evening to discuss the presidential polls.
Trinamool Congress, with 19 members in the Lok Sabha, is the largest constituent of UPA after the Congress. On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party, which has 22 members in the Lok Sabha, is an outside supporter of the ruling alliance.
A fresh round of consultations on the issue of selection of a presidential nominee is taking place in the UPA, after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) authorised Gandhi to decide on the candidates for the coming presidential and vice presidential elections.
Gandhi has so far held discussions with DMK chief Karunanidhi, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and RLD chief Ajit Singh on the presidential candidate.
Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath had on Tuesday announced the schedule for the 14th indirect presidential election to elect the 13th President of India.
Sampath said the notification for the presidential poll would be announced on June 16. He further declared that June 30 would be the last day for the filing of the nomination by candidates for the presidential election.
Sampath said that July 2 has been fixed as the day for scrutiny of all nominations, while July 4 would be the last date for candidates to withdraw their nominations.
The presidential poll, he said, would take place on July 19, and the result would be declared on July 22.
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil will leave office on July 24. (ANI)
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