Kumbakonam (TN): Former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday said Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee are able candidates for the President`s post.
"Hamid Ansari is a good friend of mine and a knowledgable person. Pranab Mukherjee is a walking encyclopedia. Whoever occupies the post will follow law and precedents," Aiyar told reporters here today.
When asked to name his preferred candidate, he refused to take sides and said both are equally able.
He criticised BJP leader Sushma Swaraj`s reported remarks that Ansari was not qualified for the post and said, this only showed she is not fit for the role of opposition leader.
On the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, he said, "Despite differences and problems, only diplomatic talks will solve the problems."
He also pointed out that the central government is providing all constructive assistance to Tamils in Sri Lanka.
On the Maoist menace, he said poverty is the main reason for it to take root and people in affected areas should be provided with all their needs for development.