Polls: BJP rules out backing Ansari; keeps Kalam option open
Monday April 30, 2012 09:28:59 PM,
New Delhi: With
Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
emerging as probable Congress choices for the presidential polls,
the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday ruled out supporting
either of them and said the party was open to supporting a
candidate chosen by non-Congress parties.
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj spelt out broad parameters of the
party's approach to the presidential polls even as Congress said
that discussions on the choice of candidate were at "nascent"
"We will not accept any Congress candidate, including Pranab
Mukherjee, for the president's post," Sushma Swaraj told
She also ruled out any understanding with the Congress under which
BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would support United
Progressive Alliance's presidential candidate and get its return
support for vice-president's post.
"We are looking at the 2014 elections and do not want to give the
impression that we have any truck with the Congress," Swaraj said.
Asked if BJP could support former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam,
Sushma Swaraj said the party was open to the idea.
"We can have an understanding with non-Congress parties where we
support their presidential candidate and they support our
vice-presidential candidate," she said.
She said BJP was gauging the mood of the UPA allies and pointed to
possibility of a contest.
"We will contest to win. We will work out an arithmetic," she
Asked about Ansari, Swaraj said he "does not have the stature to
Congress sources told IANS that allies were being sounded out on
Ansari and Mukherjee as probable party choices.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony Sunday met DMK chief M. Karunanidhi
to hold consultations on the choice of presidential nominee. Party
president Sonia Gandhi had earlier met Nationalist Congress Party
chief Sharad Pawar.
"A broad sounding out is taking place. The allies are being
conveyed that if they have any names in mind, the party is ready
to look," a Congress leader told IANS.
He said with the party lacking numbers, the wishes of UPA allies
will play a role in final choice of candidate.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the discussions were
preliminary and the party was for widest possible consent in the
"If nascent process is underway, it should be allowed to
fructify..Let's not try to speculate the process… There is a time
limit according to constitution," he said.
Tewari said Congress always believed that for august
constitutional offices, there should be "widest possible
consultations" and "widest possible consent".
Sidestepping a question about whether the new president should be
a political personality or "apolitical" person, the spokesperson
said Congress was for a president "who fits the bill" according to
Tewari said it was extremely premature to speculate about a name.
UPA ally NCP has already said that it was for an "agreed
candidate". Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which supports UPA from
outside, has favoured Ansari as presidential nominee.
Meanwhile, Mukherjee Monday urged voters not to indulge in
The term of President Pratibha Patil will come to an end in the
third week of July.
The UPA has over 40 percent of the total votes in the electoral
college while the NDA has less than 30 percent.
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