New Delhi: After discussions with allies, Congress plans to have talks with other parties on the coming Presidential election aimed at arriving at a consensus on the leader who will succeed incumbent Pratibha Patil who is retiring on July 25.
With party chief Sonia Gandhi holding preliminary talks with Agriculture Minister and NCP leader Sharad Pawar on the issue yesterday, the consultation process has been set in motion.
Senior Congress leader and Defence Minister A K Antony will go to Chennai soon for discussions with DMK President M Karunanidhi.
Pawar is understood to have urged Gandhi on the need for a consensus on the new President.
Party sources said a meeting between Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Gandhi is also expected.
Vice President Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee are among the names doing rounds in the ruling party circles for the top post.
Talks with parties outside UPA would be held after completion of the consultations in the ruling alliance.
Gandhi, as also Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, is expected to have interaction with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati.
UPA as well as NDA leaders admit anybody who has the the support of Mulayam, Mamata and Mayawati can have the next President of his choice.