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Will try to evolve consensus on president: Government

Delhi,Politics, Mon, 23 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Amid speculation over the possible names of presidential candidates, the government Monday said it will try to evolve consensus on one candidate, but added that it was premature to comment on who it could be.


Different opinions meanwhile came across the political spectrum, with some parties pitching for a non-political candidate.


After UPA ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar's reported support for an apolitical candidate, leading to speculation over the nomination of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Monday that there should be no dispute on who should be the next president.


"It's a big issue. No political party has a majority, whoever will be the president will be with everyone's support.. In such occasions, every leader and group has the right to give their view," Azad said.


"There is no dispute in this nor do we want to make it a matter of dispute ... We will be working towards a consensus," he said.


Pawar however Monday clarified that he only spoke about choosing an "agreed candidate".


"I have not said this. I have spoken about agreed candidate," Pawar told reporters when asked to comment on his remark of a "non-political" candidate for the post of the President of India.


Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary refused to take any names. Stating that the party has "high-regards" and "respect" for Kalam, she said she cannot comment on who will be the candidate.


Another ally DMK spokesperson T.K.S. Elangovan meanwhile said an apolitical president was a good option but "they should have some sort of political and legal knowledge to run the office".


Kalam's name was however backed by Samajwadi Party (SP), while the Left said it made no difference if the president was political or apolitical.


SP leader Shahid Siddiqui said "political or apolitical, president should be above politics. If there is a consensus on his name, the SP is not averse to it".


Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said "being aligned or not aligned to a political party cannot be a qualification or disqualification".


While the BJP has refused to comment on it, ally Janata Dal (United) leader and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav said there was no talk in JD-U or NDA on presidential candidates.


"We have not had any discussions on the matter in JD-U or NDA," Yadav said.


The Congress has 31 percent of the total votes against 24 percent of the BJP in an electoral college - comprising both houses of parliament and all the state legislatures - for voting for the president. The electoral college numbers 10,98,882. The UPA has a little over 40 percent of the total votes as against 57 percent it had in the last elections. The NDA has less than 30 percent.


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