We will support Kant, if there is consensus: Cong

New Delhi, june 07:Congress on Friday said it would back Krishan Kant for presidentship if there was a consensus on elevating the vice president to the top post failing which it was ready for a contest.

New Delhi, june 07:Congress on Friday said it would back Krishan Kant for presidentship if there was a consensus on elevating the vice president to the top post failing which it was ready for a contest.

Congress Spokesman S Jaipal Reddy told reporters here that the party was not against consensus on the issue of presidential candidate and was awaiting a response from the government or from the Prime Minister, who had earlier assured Congress President Sonia Gandhi that he would have a formal discussion with her on the matter.

"So far the government has not conveyed its view on the matter to the Congress party...At the moment, things remain the same as they were", he said when asked if Congress would agree on Vice-President Krishan Kant as the President if his name was proposed by the government.

On whether the party was ready to follow convention in this regard, he said, "Yes, we believe in convention".

But if there is no consensus, Congress was ready for a contest, Reddy said, adding, "we are prepared both for a consensus as well as for a dcontest for the highest office."

The spokesman said Congress still sticks to its view that incumbent K R Narayanan be given a second term. Our view with regard to Narayanan's candidature for the post, which has been stated a number of time, remain unaltered," he said.

Asked if incumbent Narayanan has communicated his views on the matter to party chief Sonia Gandhi, Reddy said neither there was any proposal for Gandhi to call on Narayanan once more to find out his views nor are we intending to do so. But we are awaiting Prime Minister's response in this regard."

Asked how long the party was going to await for the government's response, he said as long as indication was available.

"Every major political party has more than one strategy on an important issue", he replied to a pointed query about the party stand in case Narayanan declined the offer for the second term.

Reddy said he was unaware about party leader Manmohan Singh meeting with Vajpayee or CPM leader H S Surjit meeting Gandhi on the matter.

He said the party would respond wearmly if Prime Minister invited Congress leaders for consultation on the issue.

With regard to TDP supremo N Chandababu Naidu's meeting with Vajpayee on the matter, Reddy said he would not like to react merely on the basis of media reports.

Bureau Report

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