Pranab gaining support of allies
New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee appears to be gaining support of Congress allies for the President's post with a formal notification for the election expected next week.
Having been authorised by the party's Working Committee to name the candidate for the high post, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has held discussions with allies in recent days.
DMK leaders M K Stalin and T R Baalu met Gandhi on Thursday, two days after RLD chief and Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh had called on her. Presidential election was the subject of discussions with all these leaders.
Neither the Congress nor the allies are willing to talk on the issue but informed sources said that the Union Finance Minister appears to be getting the backing of the allies consulted so far.
Another key ally Samjawadi Party headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav is also said to be in favour of Mukherjee, who has had the open support of Lalu Prasad's RJD and NDA constituent, JD(U).
Congress sources said Gandhi will continue her consultations over the next few days before formally announcing a name for Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Stalin and Baalu, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the morning, also called on Mukherjee after their discussions with Gandhi.
DMK President Karunanidhi, whom Defence Minister A K Antony had met last month as Sonia's emissary on the Presidential election, has already given backing to Mukherjee as UPA's Presidential candidate.
"If he is the candidate of the UPA coalition, the DMK will not hesitate to back his candidature," DMK chief M Karunanidhi had told reporters then.