Prez poll: NDA to take a call on Pranab today

Prez poll: NDA to take a call on Pranab today


New Delhi: A crucial NDA meet here will decide its Presidential choice on Sunday. The meeting, which will start at 11 am, will be held at the residence of senior BJP leader LK Advani.

The BJP-led NDA stands divided over pitching a candidate against Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the President’s post.

While JD(U) and the SAD don’t want to pitch a candidate against Mukherjee, Janata Party and the Shiv Sena are in favor of bringing an opposition candidate, sources said.

The key NDA constituent BJP may not, after all, back Pranab Mukherjee for the President’s post as the party would not want to be seen as supporting a Congress candidate, sources say.

The saffron party may support the candidature of PA Sangma, sources added.


The BJP core group met, yesterday, at the residence of BJP president Nitin Gadkari to chalk out its strategy on the Presidential polls.

Party sources said the name of Sangma figured in the core group meeting, and the same was discussed with JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar over telephone.

A senior BJP leader is also reported to have spoken to Sangma over his candidature. Further, senior BJP leaders are likely to speak to Mamata Banerjee on the matter.

Reports said the BJP has even asked Sangma to speak to Mamata over his candidature. Meanwhile, BJP leader Ram Jethmalani also jumped in the Presidential poll fray, saying he would contest for the top post if the BJP decides to back Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature.

With former president APJ Abdul Kalam unlikely to enter the fray for presidency, there was earlier talk of the BJP-led NDA backing the veteran Congress man, who shares an excellent equation with opposition leaders. In return, NDA could bargain for Vice-President’s post.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday called Leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, respectively, as well as senior BJP leader LK Advani to seek support for Mukherjee’s candidature.


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