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SP pitches for CEC Quraishi as president

The politics of electing the country's president is changing with each passing day. However, it has been the non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) parties that have been active on it. The Samajwadi Party, with a sizeable number of votes in the complex electoral college, has emerged as the most important player in the game. After floating, and then rejecting, the name of former president A P J Abdul, it is now toying with the name of the chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi.

Suggesting that the Samajwadi Party will not go with Kalam, party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said on Tuesday, 'The party has not taken any decision on this.' He distanced himself from the comments made my his colleague Shahid Siddiqui, who had proposed the name of Kalam.

A senior leader of the party told Millennium Post that informed that it may not propose any name for the post of president but will prefer to have a Muslim face. He ruled out the possibility of Kalam for the post, because his candidature will be supported by the BJP, and the Samajwadi Party will not align with any candidate that is proposed by National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The other factor that goes against Kalam is that he comes across as an intellectual and scientist and cannot win Muslim votes for the party in the 2014 General Election.

However, what is interesting is that the party is ready to support Quraishi for the post if another party proposes his name. Quraishi is set to retire as the chief election commissioner in June this year. It is also learnt that he had an elaborate meeting with Samajwadi Party leaders on Monday. However, what might not go in his favour is his strained relations with few Congress leaders, especially the law minister Salman Khurshid, with whom the Election Commission had a spat during the Uttar Pradesh assembly election on the issue of quota for Muslims.

Sources say that the party has more or less zeroed on the the names of Quraishi and Hamid Ansari. Ansari has a good chance of being the candidate of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). He was the nominee of Left parties but over the years has developed his affinity with the Congress. What goes in his favour is that apart from the UPA he will also get the support of Left and the Samajwadi Party.
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