The BJP on Tuesday moved swiftly to deny reports of apparent cracks within its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the preferred candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections.
A day after the BJP hinted that it could support the candidature of APJ Abdul Kalam for the post of president, the NDA stands divided on the choice even as Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi’s name appeared to be steadily gaining traction.
Janata Dal (United)’s Sharad Yadav, who is also the convenor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), said no discussions had taken place in the opposition alliance.
Yadav said the remarks by Sushma Swaraj yesterday that they could back the candidature of Kalam were BJP’s views and not necessarily of other NDA parties.
He said Swaraj’s views do not endorse JD(U)’s stand as the party has not yet decided on names for the presidential polls.
On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party, which has emerged as a key player in deciding who could next occupy the Rashtrapati Bhavan, is mulling the ‘suitability’ of SY Quraishi, the current Chief Election Commissioner.
If the SP officially nominates Quraishi for the post, it is likely that most of the political parties would endorse his name. And BJP’s Sushma Swaraj had yesterday said that her party could support the presidential candidate of smaller parties if they in turn decided to back BJP’s candidate for the vice-president.
If that happens, Quraishi – a Muslim face – could emerge as a frontrunner.
Samajwadi Party leader Kamal Farooqi today clearly stated that his party was in favour of a Muslim candidate occupying the post of the President. He however maintained that it was against “communalising” the elections for the constitutional office.
Farooqi said parties like SP, BSP and Trinamool Congress can have a consensus in supporting a presidential candidate but added that the idea was not to isolate the UPA.
Farooqi said his party was also thinking about names like Vice President Hamid Ansari and former Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan.
RJD’s Lalu Prasad Yadav has also supported the candidature of Hamid Ansari.
The Left, meanwhile, has hinted that it was not averse to supporting Pranab Mukherjee for the post of President. Left leaders indicated that they could also support Hamid Ansari if he emerges as a consensus candidate.