Lucknow: Even as Mamata Banerjee was insisting that Mulayam Singh Yadav was with her on the President`s issue, the SP supremo had an unannounced meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi which appears to have turned the tide for the UPA.
"I met Sonia Gandhi. She clearly told me that you had earlier supported the candidature of Pranab Mukherjee," he told reporter on the meeting he had with Gandhi on Wednesday night after floating the name of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and two others with Banerjee.
Rejecting reports of a deal with Congress, Yadav said that he had proposed the three names as he felt Congress appeared to be hesitant in naming Mukherjee for the President`s post.
"Earlier, there was an impression that Pranab`s name is not coming up. In that case, the name of (Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh is suitable for the post as also the names of Somnath Chatterjee and A J P Abdul Kalam," Yadav said giving reasons for coming out with three names in the company of Mamata.
Another reason he gave for floating the names was "changing political situation". "In politics, situation keeps changing and one has to take other leaders along," he said.
Dismissing reports of a deal with Congress for supporting Mukherjee, Yadav said, "SP has always been against deals as it is the work of brokers. We have supported Pranab Mukherjee`s candidature because he is a capable and experienced leader with an ability to take everyone along."
To question whether his party would join the UPA, the SP chief replied "there is no question of it."
Yadav said the three names they floated were only "suggestions" and he was happy that his original proposal has been accepted.
"I have now fulfilled my promise by backing Pranab`s candidature," he said.