CPI (M) asks Cong not to delay its Prez choice

The CPI(M) wants the President to be elected on the basis of "widest acceptability".

New Delhi: The CPI(M), which wants the President to be elected on the basis of "widest acceptability", on Tuesday asked Congress and UPA not to delay any further the selection of their candidate for the top constitutional post.

"The more the delay, more names will be floated. It will be unfair to drag the names of people of repute into speculation. So, sooner it is (UPA decides on a name), the better," senior party leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters, just before NCP leader P A Sangma met CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat to drum up support for his Presidential ambitions.

Asked whether they would be willing to accept Sangma or former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, whose names have been floated by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Yechury said "let the official word come from the government side."

"We want the future President to be elected with the widest possible acceptance. For that, the leader of the ruling coalition should initiate discussion with all the political parties soon," he said.

Karat and his CPI counterpart Sudhakar Reddy had a brief meeting earlier in the day, though it was not clear whether the issue of Presidential election figured in the discussion.

The four Left parties would be meeting here tomorrow to discuss the issue, with sources in these parties saying they would be able to arrive at a decision only next week by when UPA may announce its candidate.

The sources said Left parties would consult other secular opposition parties before taking a final stand.

At the meeting tomorrow, the Left parties would also chalk out details of a nationwide campaign for a comprehensive and effective food security law and provision of a universal public distribution system for all, excluding only the better- off sections.