Sharad Yadav of the JD(U) on Thursday said his party is seeking a consensus for the post of president and tried for it till Wednesday. However, in the absence of a consensus they have said that they will support Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday announced to sponsor former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma against Mukherjee in the Presidential election, disregarding protests of allies JD(U) and Shiv Sena, who have decided to vote for the veteran Congressman, in the July 19 contest.
Talking to reporters, Sangma said he is grateful to the BJP for its support and will talk to Mamata Banerjee to back his candidature.
According to sources, now that Kalam is out of the race, the West Bengal Chief Minister has “agreed to endorse Sangma in the Presidential election”.
“She has not categorically said yes or no… but she has agreed to talk on it further,” they added.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the BJP will try to bring Banerjee on board with its decision to field Sangma as the Presidential candidate. “Mamata is a seasoned and mature politician and given the logical pursuit of what she has started we hope she will support Sangma,” he said. Jaitley said they are trying to bring everyone on board to support the former NCP leader but quips that “such methods cannot be revealed at Press Conferences”.
Responding to a question by reporters on the impact of the BJP decision to field Sangma as the NDA candidate, Jaitley said that the alliance that form the NDA was a mature one and could weather a difference of opinion. “Differences over candidate will not affect the NDA. We hope our allies will support us but if not it will not separate us”, he said. In terms of finding a suitable opponent for Pranab he said, “We are happy that there were two suitable candidates emerged and we chose one of them”.
Sangma is supported by J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK and Navin Patnaik’s BJD, and could be supported by the BJP as well. Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) has hinted that they will not support Sangma and prefer to back Pranab, while the Shiv Sena has categorically stated its support for the Finance Minister.