New Delhi: In a clear snub to the UPA allies Trinamool Congress and the Samajawadi Party, Congress on Thursday ended speculation on Dr Manmohan Singh becoming the party’s Presidential candidate by saying that he will continue as Prime Minister till 2014.
Speaking to reporters, Congress spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi said, “We have said this umpteen times and I am repeating it again that Dr Manmohan Singh will continue to serve the country as Prime Minister till 2014 General Elections. He cannot be spared from the Prime Minister`s job. He will stay on the job till 2014.”
However, Dwivedi stopped short of suggesting who will be his party`s presidential candidate.
The Congress spokesperson also categorically rejected the attempted projection of Dr Manmohan Singh as one of the top candidates for presidency by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“There has been no change in the Congress party’s stand on the issue. The two names – Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari – are still in the race,” Dwivedi said, adding, “However we have not yet finalized on any name.”
The Congress leader also blamed the West Bengal Chief Minister for triggering speculation and giving false information to the media on the issue.
Both Mamata and Mulayam yesterday proposed three names those of - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former President PAJ Abdul Kalam and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
Importantly, Congress president Sonia Gandhi today held 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.
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.