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Millennium Post

Allies disagree with BJP, all eyes on Mamata

Choosing the presidential candidate is turning out to be quite a headache for most parties. On Monday, Sushma Swaraj had categorically ruled out supporting the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature. On Tuesday, the allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came out strongly against her statement and said that all options were open.

Sensing that the spat could damage the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ahead of the election, BJP spokespersons addressed a press conference. Its leaders Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi claimed that there was not any division in alliance. Rudy said, ‘What Sushma Swaraj had said was from the party platform and not the NDA view.’ They maintained that there had been no talks  with the NDA allies or ‘the larger opposition’ on the issue. Swaraj had also rejected Vice President Hamid Ansari’s name for the presidential post, arguing that he did not have the stature to hold the post.

The differences have already cropped up within the NDA. The Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar distanced himself from Swaraj’s position. His party Janata Dal (United) asserted that he did not endorse the BJP’s stand on the contest. The party president Sharad Yadav said, ‘Whatever Sushma Swaraj has said is the opinion of the BJP. This is not our party’s view.’

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav added his bit in the debate, favouring Ansari over everyone else. Yadav asserted, ‘We will support the candidature of Hamid Ansari as the next president of the country, though the RJD is a small party. Ansari is a good personality and he is appropriate for the post of president.’

The Samajwadi Party leader Kamal Farooqi asserted that his party was in favour of a Muslim candidate due to the party’s ‘solid Muslim vote’ and also because they did not believe in ‘communalising’ the elections for the constitutional office. Earlier, Millennium Post had reported that the Samajwadi Party was in favour of the chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi for the post. A key decision-maker in this race may turn out to be the Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who will meet the Congress president Sonia Gandhi later this week to discuss the issue.
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