New Delhi: With Mamata resolute in her opposition to Pranab Mukherjee as the next President of India, and the Congress adamant not to let her have her way, the stage appears set for a closely fought battle to select the next occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
In all likelihood, Pranab will don Congress colours in the last round of the battle and, as things stand at this moment, former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam may emerge as the common candidate of Mulayam-Mamata combine, NDA and others key players like J Jayalaithaa and Naveen Patnaik.
Mulayam and Mamata had named Kalam as one of their choices – the others being Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee. But all the names were rejected by the Congress.
Now as plan B, the duo may well decide to trim their list to just Kalam as he is the only candidate among the three whom the Left would also support – crucial if it turns out to be a close contest.
Both the leaders would be meeting later today to chart out their future course of action.
Also, given his stature, Dr Kalam is not keen on a close fight and would agree to contest the polls only if he sees a clear majority in his favour, reports said.
However, his chances are indeed bright as the NDA may also want to support him given Kalam’s massive popular support – more importantly, because they lack a credible candidate of their own.
As a possible preclude, BJP leader KK Advani met J Jayalalithaa in Chennai today and discussed the presidential poll issue.
Jayalalithaa may have backed PA Sangma, but in the given scenario may find it difficult to oppose Tamilian Dr Kalam.