Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is not likely to endorse veteran Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee as the next incumbent of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Reports, Monday, claimed that the firebrand West Bengal leader has made it clear in an interview to a leading TV news channel that her party will not endorse Congress veteran Pranab Mukherjee for the highest constitutional post even if he becomes the UPA’s presidential candidate.
Making her stand clear on the issue, she hinted that Pranab is not her top favourite for the job and instead she prefers Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, West Bengal Governor Gopal Gandhi and former president APJ Abdul Kalam for the President’s post.
"I love Meira Kumar. She is very soft spoken. Gopal Gandhi has done good work. Kalam was a good president," Mamata was quoted as saying in the interview.
"Pranab may be the son of the world, but if you ask me my choice, I`ll go with Meira Kumar, Gopal Gandhi and APJ Abdul Kalam. But if the Congress wants to go with Pranab, it`s their choice," Mamata reportedly said.
The announcement from the Trinamool leader comes at a time when efforts for reaching a consensus on a universally acceptable presidential candidate have intensified.
Tamil Nadu and Odisha Chief Ministers J Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik have stepped up campaign for former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma`s candidature for presidency.
AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa on Sunday contacted top leaders of several non-Congress parties including BJP veteran LK Advani, seeking their support to the tribal leader.
She called up BJP veteran LK Advani, who is believed to have told her that he was "positively inclined" towards Sangma personally but a decision would only be taken only after consultations within the party and with NDA leaders.
The BJP-led NDA is likely to discuss its strategy on Tuesday on the crucial question of who the party will support in the race for presidency.
Jayalalithaa also spoke to CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI`s AB Bardhan, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal.