Millennium Post
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'Kalam a closed chapter'

Samajwadi Party [SP] chief Mulayam Singh Yadav Monday reiterated that his party’s support to UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee was full and final and termed former president A P J Abdul Kalam’s refusal to contest a ‘closed chapter’.

Declining to be drawn into the political activity related to the presidential election and Kalam’s stand, he said there was no point of discussing a ‘bygone issue’.

Asked to comment on Kalam, Mulayam Singh said this was a samapt adhyay [closed chapter] and there was no need to respond to it. He added that for his party, the only factor that remained was the outcome of the 19 July presidential polls.

‘We have given full support to Pranab Mukherjee and it is just a matter of result being announced,’ he added.

To queries that that there could be a contest for the next occupant of Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mulayam Singh said if elections were imminent, then so be it.

‘We have extended our support for the candidature of Pranab Babu and so have many other political parties, so our stand is clear,’ said the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister. He said he hoped that Mukherjee would make it to Rashtrapati Bhavan without any problem.

Kalam on Monday announced that he has decided not to contest the presidential election after studying ‘the totality of the matter’.


NITISH TO GO WITH NDA'S DECISION

Favouring a consensus amidst division in the NDA over opposing UPA Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that the JD[U] would ‘go with the NDA’s decision’.

‘Like the other constituents, the JD[U] too will abide by the final decision on the Presidential poll’, Kumar told reporters here.

Kumar, however, refrained from clearly spelling out whether his party, JD-U will support a contest against Mukherjee, saying, ‘There has been free and fair discussion [in the NDA meeting]’.

‘We are in favour of consensus [on the Presidential poll] but how will there be a consensus on the issue unless NDA itself comes up with a consensus. Efforts are on to build a consensus and, hence, consultations are continuing in NDA’, he said.

Kumar said that the NDA had sufficient time to take a final decision to put up its own candidate or support any other candidate in the fray and hold more talks.

‘Talks are going on. More discussions will follow. A churning of views is going on in the NDA. As long as a decision is not taken, it is not appropriate for the allies to give their viewpoints outside’, he said when asked whether JD-U would support an NDA contest against Mukherjee’s candidature.

He said, ‘There is no need for anybody to air their own view on the Presidential poll. It is called oneupmanship’.

On senior JD[U] leader Shivanand Tiwari’s reported remarks favouring Mukherjee as a consensus candidate, Kumar said that the former had said ‘supplementary’ things about the Presidential poll that were not reported by the media.

Kumar said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the union Finance Minister had talked to him on telephone to seek support in the Presidential poll, but said that they had also spoken to other chief ministers and political leaders of various parties, including the JD[U] national president Sharad Yadav.

The chief minister said that his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee had not spoken to him to discuss the Presidential poll.

On his personal views on the candidature of the former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma and Mukherjee, the chief minister said, ‘my personal views are not important though I respect both leaders’.

On the candidature of former president A P J Abdul Kalam in the Presidential poll, he refused to comment but said that he enjoyed good rapport with him.


MANEKA BACKS MUKHERJEE

BJP leader Maneka Gandhi came out in support of Pranab Mukherjee for president. Maneka said he was the most kabil [able] candidate for the post. Asked if she was in favour of a consensus for Mukherjee, she said that the president ‘should always be elected by consensus’.

She, however, added that she could not say what her party will decide ultimately.

This is not the first time Gandhi has backed Mukherjee. Last week, she had said the nation needed a president like him. ‘He is a seasoned politician... I know him for the past 30 years. We need such a president, who will work,’ she said.
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