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Not afraid of Presidential contest: Cong

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 20:02

New Delhi: Congress on Wednesday said it will hold talks with BJP to build a consensus on the Presidential candidate but made it clear that the party was "not afraid of contest".

"It is always nicer when we get consensus and could move together. Otherwise, no one is afraid of any contest. We hope to have a consensus. That is our aspiration. If that does not happen then there are other options as per the book," party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary told reporters here.

She was responding to questions on whether Congress is ruling out contest for the top job by repeatedly stressing on its desire for "widest possible consensus" on the issue.

To a specific question on whether Congress was open to talking to BJP to forge a consensus, Chowdhary said, "You do not achieve anything by not being open. Our hands are always extended...We never said we will not talk to them (BJP).... We will definitely talk to BJP.

"After all nothing happens without talks. We will talk to everybody. Our door is open for all."

When pointed out that BJP has been saying that Congress is yet to hold talks with the Opposition on the issue, Chowdhary said that consultations have just begun and the party will be talking to the BJP and other Opposition parties on the issue at an appropriate time.
Asked whether no candidate is "untouchable" to Congress in the backdrop of BJP showing preference for APJ Abdul Kalam for the country`s top job, Chowdhary said, "Yes, because there is no such thing as untouchable. It is an obsolete and damned word (in our Constitution) and does not exist".

Asked about Sushma Swaraj`s comment that Hamid Ansari lacks stature for Presidentship, she said "that is unfortunate. BJP has already spoken on it. Speaking about it is not dignified."

She added that if somebody was sitting on the Vice President`s chair, "he has already got that stature".

First Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 20:02

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