Posted On Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 09:08:49 AM
|Pranab Mukherjee at a conference in Mumbai on Saturday
Rejecting reports of a deal with Congress, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said today that he had proposed the name of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and two others as he felt Congress appeared to be hesitant in naming Pranab Mukherjee for the President's post.
He also said he met Congress President Sonia Gandhi after floating the three names on Wednesday evening with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee when Gandhi pointed out to him that he had favoured Pranab earlier.
"SP has always been against deals as it is the work of brokers. We have supported Pranab Mukherjee's candidature because he is a capable and experienced leader with an ability to take everyone along", Yadav told reporters here.
To question whether his party would join the UPA, the SP chief replied "there is no question of it."
"Earlier, there was an impression that Pranab's name is not coming up. In that case, the name of (Prime Minister) ManmohanSinghissuitableforthepost as also the names of Somnath Chatterjee and A J P Abdul Kalam," Yadav said giving reasons for coming out with three names in the company of Mamata.
Another reason he gave for floating the names was "changing political situation". "In politics, situation keeps changing and one has to take other leaders along," he told a news channel.
Yadav said the three names they floated were only "suggestions" and he was happy that his original proposal has been accepted.
"I have now fulfilled my promise by backing Pranab's candidature," he said.
NDA allies root for Pranab
The route to Rashtrapati Bhavan seems almost clear of obstacles for Pranab Mukherjee as allies of the opposition vouched for him, considering his political stature and popularity.
Though the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is yet to make up its mind on supporting the finance minister, murmurs of support for him came from its key alliance Janata Dal-United (JDU) and the Shrimoni Akali Dal (SAD).
JDU leader Shivanand Tiwari said the politican – who has five decades of experience behind him – deserved the post of the country's 13th president. "A senior and respected leader like Pranab Mukherjee, who is going to retire (from active politics), should be given a graceful sendoff," Tiwari said in Patna, adding that it was his personal view.
The JDU was also opposed to a contest for presidential polls as it could be embarrassing for the opposition. The NDA, however is yet to announce its choice of candidate. JDU chief Sharad Yadav stated the party would meet on Sunday to decide. But according to sources in the JDU, many party leaders will stress on support to Mukherjee at the NDA meeting.
Cong-TMC to split in Bengal?
West Bengal Congress leadership is mounting pressure on its high command to allow the party to quit the coalition government in the state under Mamata Banerjee’s leadership even as the relationship between the two parties has soured in Delhi over the choice of presidential candidate.
“We are under pressure from our ministers and senior leaders to quit the state government,” said general secretary of the party’s state committee, Omprakash Mishra, a close aide of union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. “Our high command will take a final decision.”
- Jayatri Nag