NDA defers decision on presidential polls
New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) A meeting of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) here Sunday failed to decide on its presidential candidate, and said it will meet again. The Shiv Sena kept away.
After varied opinions emerged from allies and others outside the alliance, the meeting asked Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani to hold talks with chief ministers of NDA-ruled states and other parties.
Emerging from the meeting, NDA convener and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav said a meeting of NDA chief ministers will be called soon.
"The allies held detailed discussions on the presidential polls and decided that Advani will talks to all stakeholders before the NDA meets again to take a decision," he said.
"Advani will talk to chief ministers of NDA-ruled states and all others. NDA will meet sometime later again to take a decision in this regard. Those outside (Delhi) will also be consulted," he said.
Yadav, however, said the meeting did not discuss the vice presidential election which will take place later this year.
The two-hour meeting, held at Advani's residence, was attended by NDA leaders belonging to the JD-U, Shiromani Akali Dal, Haryana Janhit Congress and the BJP.
Among those present, apart from Advani and Yadav, were BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Jaswant Singh, JD-U's Shivanand Tiwari, Akali Dal's Naresh Gujral and Janata Party's Subramanian Swamy.
The Shiv Sena is reportedly upset over the NDA's failure to take a decision quickly on contesting the presidential poll.
The Sena is also said to be against the NDA supporting former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma, who is the presidential candidate of the AIADMK and Biju Janata Dal.
While JD-U and Akali Dal are not in favour of having a candidate against United Progressive Alliance nominee Pranab Mukherjee, Shiv Sena and Janata Party want a contest to take place.
Asked about their stand, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said: "Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray will take a decision on the issue."
In the last presidential polls, the Sena went against the BJP and voted for Congress candidate Pratibha Patil, who is from Maharashtra.
Advani and Sushma Swaraj brought up Sangma's name at a party meeting Saturday. They asked him to talk to Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, said party sources.
The party will also hold parleys with Banerjee and YSR Congress founder Jaganmohan Reddy, the sources said.
The BJP's aim is to strengthen relations with these parties for a future expansion of the NDA.
"We will consult all non-Congress parties. The aim is to build stronger relations aimed at the Lok Sabha polls," said a leader.
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