New Delhi: A day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa contacted top leaders of several non-Congress parties including BJP veteran LK Advani, seeking their support for former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma`s candidature for presidency, the saffron party on Monday held a meeting with NDA leaders to reach a final decision on who the party will support in the race for presidency.
It is being said that Advani is believed to have told AIADMK chief that he was "positively inclined" towards Sangma personally but a decision would only be taken only after consultations within the party.
Jayalalithaa spoke over telephone to Advani, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI leader AB Bardhan, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shironmani Akali Dal leader and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, an AIADMK release said.
As part of the "intensified efforts" to garner support for Sangma, Jayalalithaa spoke to these leaders seeking their support the tribal leader from the Northeast who "has all the qualifications" (to become President) in the coming Presidential polls, it said.
In a coordinated move, Jayalalithaa and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik on May 17 announced their joint support to Sangma.
Interestingly, the Nationalist Congress Party, to which Sangma belongs, however, has ruled out supporting his candidature, saying it would go with the UPA being a part of it.
Meanwhile, it is being learnt that West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is not likely to endorse veteran Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee as the next incumbent of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Reports, today, claimed that the firebrand West Bengal leader has made it clear in an interview to a leading TV news channel that her party will not endorse Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee for the highest constitutional post even if he becomes the UPA’s presidential candidate.
Making her stand clear on the issue, she hinted that Pranab is not her top favourite for the job and instead she prefers Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, West Bengal Governor Gopal Gandhi and former president APJ Abdul Kalam for the President’s post.