New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi is holding a series of discussion with her colleagues and senior leaders of UPA alliance partners to build consensus over a presidential candidate acceptable to all on Thursday.
According to reports, the meeting comes a day after the UPA allies Trinamool Congress and the Samajwadi Party yesterday rejected Congress’ presidential candidates Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari and suggested three new names for the top post putting the ruling party into a fix on the issue.
With several names doing the rounds, the race for Raisina has become more complicated and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi`s credibility is on test to ensure the nomination of a preferred Congress candidate.
Sonia Gandhi`s credibility is on test to ensure the nomination of a preferred Congress candidate.
In a bid to consensus on the issue, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Makhan Lal Photedar, RK Dhawan met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence today.
Shortly after their meeting, Defence Minister AK Antony, Home Minister P Chidambaram and DMK strongman TR Balu also met Sonia Gandhi.
During the meeting, Balu reportedly told Sonia Gandhi about the assurance given by DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi to support Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for the top job.
In a bid to counter TMC and the SP, Congress has also ruled out that Pranab is still not out of the race for Raisina and the ruling party appears to be making strategy to checkmate Mamata-Mulayam combine by approving the Finance Minister’s name for the President`s post.
Importantly, Congress Core Committee is also due to meet this evening and is expected to take a final call on presidential candidate.
The Congress has reasons to worry after Mamata and Mulayam`s twist. If UPA`s candidate loses the Presidential elections, the government will fall and snap elections would be called. Mamata and Mulayam seem to have opened the possibility of a federal front being formed of the state leaders.
If sources are to be believed, the Congress leadership is confident that a consensus could be reached on Pranab’s name. Congress president would also not like to be seen as someone opposing Pranab’s candidature for the top job as she last time rejected his name saying that he was too important for the government to be spared for presidency.
Moreover, a section of the Congress leadership thinks that the Samajwadi Party had earlier agreed on Pranab’s name so it will not be difficult to persuade Muluyam Singh Yadav to support Finance Minister for the post.