New Delhi: Just hours after UPA announced the name of Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee as their choice for next President, the Congress party on Friday asked APJ Abdul Kalam not to contest for the Presidential elections.
After days of hectic parleys and high political drama surrounding the contentious issue of who will occupy the top post of the country, the UPA finally formally announced the name of Pranab Mukherjee as their candidate for race to Riasina Hills. The other names doing the rounds were that of Hamid Ansari, Meira Kumar, PA Sangma and others.
But one name that was being talked about for a long time was that of former president APJ Abdul Kalam. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had floated his name sometime ago. The process got momentum when Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee came out with Kalam’s name as her first choice.
West Bengal Chief Minster along with Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had announced at a joint press conference that their choice of candidate for the next President were APJ Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chaterjee. By doing so they had categorically rejected the choice of the Congress for the President – Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari.
However, the Samajwadi Party has now ditched Mamata and have pledged support for the candidature of UPA’s choice. On the other hand it seems unlikely that APJ Kalam will now contest against Congress stalwart Pranab. Kalam has maintained throughout that he was ready to consider running for the post of President only if there was a consensus around his candidature.
Now, with most of the political parties coming out in support of Pranab, Kalam will surely not be game for the top post as he will not take a chance being on the losing side. And so Congress’ appeal to Kalam not to contest against Pranab will most likely be taken heed of by the former president.
First Published: Friday, June 15, 2012, 20:58