Mulayam backs Pranab for President; will Mamata too?

Sources on Wednesday indicated Samajwadi Party has made up its mind on supporting the senior Congress leader if his name is announced by Sonia Gandhi.

Updated: Jun 13, 2012, 14:07 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Lucknow: The prospect of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee becoming the next President is increasing by the day with sources on Wednesday indicating Samajwadi Party has made up its mind on supporting the senior Congress leader if his name is announced by Sonia Gandhi.

In fact, sources said Pranab is the first choice for the SP whose chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has clearly said that he would back a political figure for the post and not a bureaucrat.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is meeting Sonia Gandhi this evening to discuss Presidential polls. Even the PMO has sent her an invitation to meet the PM this evening, timing for which has not been decided as yet.

After her initial opposition to Pranab’s candidature, owing to the fact that he had not conceded to her demand for a special financial package for West Bengal, Mamata has indicated she would not stand in the way of the veteran leader; more so because of the wide support he has been receiving.

Mamata, who had met Mulayam last evening, will meet him for the second time in two days today after her meeting with Sonia Gandhi.

Today’s meetings are widely expected to seal the candidature of Pranab who too has dropped ample hints that he is game for moving to the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Several UPA allies, including the NCP and DMK, have already said that they would go with the UPA candidate, whoever he/she is.

The Election Commission had announced the Presidential poll schedule yesterday, with candidates allowed to file nomination beginning Saturday (June 16).

Sources have said the Congress president is likely to announce her party’s candidate on or before Friday.