Presidential contest: BJP rule out support to any Congress nominee
The race for Presidential election has intensified with the opposition BJP ruling out support for any Congress candidate including Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari raising the possibility of a contest in the absence of a consensus.
On its part, the Congress continued to keep its cards close to the chest.
In its first public declaration, BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj also ruled out any quid pro quo with Congress on the Presidential election by accepting the Vice President's post.
On his part Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, whose name along with Ansari has been doing the rounds, parried questions on his candidature saying it is speculation and asked the media not to indulge in it.
Congress-led UPA with 42 per cent votes and BJP-led NDA with 28 per cent votes can get a candidate agreeable to them elected without support from other parties who are in neither formations. Lending a new turn to the race more than two months before the elections, Swaraj declared that "we will not accept any candidate including Pranab Mukherjee." "Ansari does not have the stature to be President and hence BJP will not support him," she said. "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. She said BJP was gauging the mood of the UPA allies on the Presidential elections.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony went to Chennai and met DMK chief M.Karunanidhi, an UPA ally on the issue. Names of Ansari and Pranab Mukherjee as well as that of Meira Kumar reportedly cropped up. Karunanidhi indicated his preference for a Muslim but said he won’t mind Pranab if there was a consensus on him.
- Asian Tribune -