Prez polls: CPI(M) to support consensus candidate

CPI(M) on Tuesday said it would support a candidate enjoying the "maximum consensus" in the Presidential elections.

New Delhi: CPI(M) on Tuesday said it would support a candidate enjoying the "maximum consensus" in the Presidential elections and asked Congress to initiate talks on a war-footing to evolve unanimity as time was running short.

Senior party leader Sitaram Yechury refused to be drawn into any specific names to succeed incumbent Pratibha Patil, nor any category like "political" or "non-political" for the purpose.

However, he said the CPI(M) would "definitely suggest (name for a Presidential candidate) but we will do it only at the appropriate time after the government starts the process of consultations".

Asked whether the Left parties would be agreeable to names like Pranab Mukherjee or Hamid Ansari, the CPI(M) leader said, "Why should someone object or not object to anyone. The ruling party, by delaying discussions, is allowing lot of speculation. This is not at all healthy".

Maintaining that the criteria for electing the President "should not be on the basis of being a political or non- political person", he said it should be on the basis of who enjoys the maximum consensus.

But for this, the process of consultation has to be initiated by the ruling party and that has not happened so far, Yechury said, adding that "more delay will lead to all sorts of speculation".

Accusing the Congress-led UPA coalition of delaying consultations in the matter, he said only a month remains before the notification for the Presidential poll would be issued and the Congress should begin consultations immediately.

He said even when the Left parties had put up Capt Lakshmi Sehgal of the Indian National Army against A P J Abdul Kalam for the President, "an attempt was made to arrive at a consensus".

PTI

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