President poll: race heating up

Even as the Congress is hoping to build a consensus, cracks are emerging within the BJP-led NDA over the candidature of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari for the President's post.


Differences surfaced in the NDA camp over President's election with JD(U) disapproving BJP's unilateral decision on the issue as Left parties and RJD backed Vice President Hamid Ansari for the post.


Samajwadi Party, which is outside the UPA and NDA formations, today sought to inject a new element in the race saying the party would favour an eminent Muslim candidate including the name of Ansari.


Stunned by JD(U)'s sharp reaction, the BJP sought to do some damage control explaining that Sushma Swaraj's announcement yesterday that her party will not not back any Congress candidate including Pranab Mukherjee and Ansari was made from the BJP platform and not not NDA.


Embarrasing BJP JD(U) leader and NDA conveneor Sharad Yadav said "Whatever Sushma Swaraj has said is the opinion of the BJP. This is not our party's view. The issue was not discussed in any NDA meeting. BJP has not discussed the issue with us."

He also said that the country is in a bad shape and "everybody needs to be on the side of caution on this issue".


Asked whether JD-U agrees with the stand of Swaraj, Yadav merely said, "Ours is a different party and their's is another. Neither have we discussed this issue with the BJP nor have they done it with us so far."


Yadav also referred to the statement of SAD leader Sukhbir Singh Badal to hammer home his point that the issue has not been decided by NDA as yet.


Badal said that there has been "no formal meeting" of the alliance so far and hence he cannot comment that who will be NDA's Presidential candidate. (More) PTI AMR SKU ARC AJK VSC

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