New Delhi: A day after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was announced as UPA’s presidential face, Mukherjee is emerging as the consensus candidate amid growing supports cutting across political affiliations.
Both the SP and BSP have assured their supports to Mukherjee’s candidature. There is every possibility that Left will throw its weight behind Mukherjee following TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s decision to oppose Pranab.
With former President APJ Abdul Kalam unlikely to enter the fray for presidency, reports say BJP-led NDA could back the veteran Congress man, who shares an excellent equation with opposition leaders. In return, NDA could bargain for the Vice President’s post.
The BJP core group is meeting this evening at the residence of BJP president Nitin Gadkari to chalk out strategy on the Presidential poll.
The saffron party is expected to finalise its stand in the core group meet.
NDA meet, yesterday, had failed to come up with a candidate. The NDA will meet tomorrow, where a final decision on the presidential choice to be taken, reports say.
NDA is divided over pitching a candidate against Mukherjee. JD(U) and the SAD suggest a consensus on Mukherjee`s candidature keeping his stature in mind, NDA sources said.
However, Janata Party and the Shiv Sena are in favour of bringing an opposition candidate, sources added.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, yesterday, called Leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, respectively, as well as senior BJP leader LK Advani to seek support for Mukherjee’s candidature.
Singh also called leaders of parties in parliament to seek their backing for Mukherjee’s candidature.
Senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee shares a healthy relationship and commands respect cutting across party lines.