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Race to Raisina Hill: BJP, JD-U differ over presidential candidate

New Delhi, Tue, 01 May 2012 ANI

New Delhi, May 1 (ANI): A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hinted that it could support the candidature of APJ Abdul Kalam for the post of president, Janata Dal-United (JDU) chief Sharad Yadav on Tuesday said no discussions had taken place within the opposition alliance.

Yadav, who is also the convenor of the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), said the remarks by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj that they could back the candidature of Kalam were the BJP's views, and not necessarily of other NDA parties.

"It could be a personal view of Sushma, or the BJP. I am not speaking on behalf of the NDA. BJP gave its viewpoint and that's not our viewpoint," Yadav told media here.

Sushma Swaraj had on Monday backed Kalam for the post, saying that if the name is supported by Mulayam Singh of the Samajwadi Party, the BJP would support it.

Swaraj refused to accept the names of Vice President Hamid Ansari and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as alternative presidential candidates.

She said that while Pranab Mukherjee was a Congress man, Ansari did not have the stature to be made President.

The Congress said the process of choosing the next president has not kicked off formally.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said that the august office of the President should not be brought into the realm of unnecessary speculation. While the term of the current President would be ending in July, the formal process to choose the next President has not kicked off.

He, however, accepted that discussions are taking place at certain levels.

"We should allow this whole process to play itself out, rather than create an unnecessary hype about the whole thing," he added.

On Sunday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony met Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M Karunanidhi at his residence in Chennai to build a consensus for the Congress-led UPA Government's candidate for the presidential election.

The Congress had earlier held talks with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. (ANI)

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