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Mulayam keeps Congress guessing

The suspense does not seem to end over who would be the country’s next president, with Samajwadi Party [SP] chief Mulayam Singh Yadav making it clear that his party will decide once the Congress officially declares its candidate. ‘When a name is formally declared for the presidential election our Central Parliamentary Board will meet to decide,’ Yadav said in New Delhi on Monday.

The SP chief, however, reiterated his stance that the party is not in favour of backing a non-political person. ‘We would like to have a political person as the president of the country, we won’t support a bureaucrat,’ said SP chief. This remark by Mulayam Singh Yadav is seen as a signal from the SP chief expressing his reservations against the candidature of vice president Hamid Ansari. Ansari is a former Indian Foreign Services officer and was also the vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.

The other name that has been doing the round for the president’s post is that of the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Yadav’s remark that he would be supporting a political candidate is seen as a green signal from the party supporting the candidature of Pranab. Sources, however, within the Samajwadi party are of the view that there is still no clarity within the Congress Party over Mukherjee’s name and the Samajwadi Party can only take a decision once the message is conveyed to them.

Asked whether he was awaiting a reply from Mamata Banerjee on the presidential nominee, Yadav chose not to reply. SP with 226 MLAs in the UP Assembly and 30 MPs in Parliament has a vote share of 68,000 in the 11 lakh electoral college for the Presidential election.
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