New Delhi: While the Congress maneuvers with its allies on the presidential polls, the opposition National Democratic Alliance, which is yet to hold any consultations, is not likely to meet before Saturday, one of its leaders said.
Janata Dal-United (JD-U) secretary Javed Rasa told IANS that the NDA meeting on presidential polls will be held only after Saturday.
“Sharad Yadav-ji is out of Delhi and will be back only on 16th June. Any meeting of the NDA will be held only after that,” Rasa told IANS.
The BJP, whose core group discussed the presidential polls Wednesday evening, said it will wait for the Congress’s stand and then hold consultation with allies.
“Two of the government’s allies have taken the names of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee… We believe the Congress should first respond on its stand on these names,” BJP leader Ananth Kumar told reporters.
UPA ally Trinamool Congress’ chief Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi party Chief Mulayam Singh, who is providing outside support to government, pitched the names of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
BJP sources said Kalam’s name was discussed in the core committee meet. The former president may find favour as the BJP had made him the president in 2002.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari were Wednesday named the Congress’ choices by Banerjee after a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
JD-U chief Sharad Yadav Wednesday said he had “good relations” with Mukherjee, the first choice of Congress for the top post, but remained non-committal on backing him, saying the NDA would take a decision only after Congress candidate is declared.
“The ruling alliance always proposes the candidate. NDA will decide after that if we have to go another way. Why should we fire in the air,” Yadav maintained.
Asked if the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA will support Mukherjee, he said: “Did they declare Pranab babu’s name? We have good relations with Pranab-ji. But has his name been proposed? When the official proposal comes, we will decide.”
Rasa said the JD-U had not received any official communique from any party over presidential candidates.
At the same time, signs of a division appeared in the NDA camp with JD-U sources confirming that the party leadership was upset that BJP was not holding consultations on the issue. The party is also upset at the way senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh went ahead to meet Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, pitching himself for the vice president’s post.
JD-U chief Sharad Yadav officially rejected Jaswant Singh.
“People meet each other. We have not decided for any name in any meeting of NDA. Only Jaswant Singh can tell whom did he meet and why did he meet. It is normal. We keep meeting,” Yadav said.
BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman, however, ruled out Jaswant Singh’s candidature, saying the meeting was to fathom what other parties were thinking.
“The party was seized of the meeting. It was to know what other parties are thinking,” Sitharaman said.