With Sena backing Pranab, tough for BJP to force a contest
With Shiv Sena breaking ranks by expressing support to Pranab Mukherjee, BJP will have a tough task to ensure that NDA contests the presidential election.
New Delhi: With Shiv Sena breaking ranks by expressing support to Pranab Mukherjee, BJP will have a tough task to ensure that NDA contests the presidential election and a view in this regard is to be taken at a meeting of the coalition expected to be held on Wednesday.
Shiv Sena has complicated matters for the party by pledging support to Mukherjee.
JD(U) too has reportedly stuck to its stand that there should be a consensus on Mukherjee.
The rift between JD(U) and BJP over the presidential poll appeared to grow deeper with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying the NDA Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections should have "secular credentials" and that the coalition should declare its candidate in advance.
Though Kumar did not take any name, he was apparently referring to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The murmurs of protest within BJP against going for a contest appear to be growing louder. Sources said sulking former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa has joined those who want a consensus on Mukherjee.
"While Mukherjee is a UPA candidate, PA Sangma belongs to NCP which is a constituent of UPA. If NDA has to support one of them, Mukherjee is a better choice as he has the stature and better credentials," a close associate of Yeddyurappa said, quoting the BJP leader.
BJP leaders Maneka Gandhi, Shatrughan Sinha and CP Thakur have already said Mukherjee should be president.
BJP President Nitin Gadkari may not be able to take part in the NDA meeting as he left for Nagpur today in view of his son`s wedding on June 24. He, along with LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj, is among the BJP leaders who are keen on a contest.