TODAY -

Advani lukewarm to Sangma
Source: The Sangai Express / Press Trust of India

New Delhi, June 15 2012: BJP-led NDA today indicated that it will try to mobilise support of non-Congress parties for APJ Abdul Kalam, whose name has been floated by SP and Trinamool Congress.

It appeared to rule out backing for PA Sangma, who has been propped up by AIADMK and BJD, as the NDA choice for the Presidential election.

After a 90-minute meeting with NDA partners, the coalition's Working Chairperson L K Advani said they did not meet to decide the candidate for President and Vice-President today but to exchange notes on the recent developments on the issue and workout the future course of action.

Though the NDA did not spell out any strategy in clear terms, Advani indicated that Sangma may not be their candidate.

"When I met Jayalalithaa yesterday she said she wants NDA to support Sangma.

I told her that I respect Sangma.

I know him.

He has been a good speaker.

He belongs to the North East.

But I will have to consult the NDA," he said.

Prodded further, the BJP leader said it would be difficult for a candidate who has the support of only two chief ministers to win the Presidential elections and a lot of effort may be required for Sangma to sail through.

Advani said not only will the NDA coordinate within, it will also reach out to non-Congress parties on a Presidential candidate.

Sources said Kalam's name was discussed in the NDA meeting today and some BJP leaders are keen that he should be the party candidate.

However, Kalam himself appears reluctant as the Opposition lacks the numbers.

"Because of the manner in which the elections are being handled even the polity can be damaged.

If the government really wants to correct the situation, let it consult all political parties," Advani said.

Asked if the NDA wanted a contest, Advani said, "I don't see anything wrong in a contest" .

He said Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had already ruled out that BJP and Congress can have a deal on President and vice-president but an understanding between UPA and the "larger opposition" can be looked into.

"Our meeting also discussed who met whom and who wants to send whom to Rashtrapati Bhawan for what purpose.

Somebody wants somebody else to be the Finance Minister.

They have different motives," Advani said.

Asked about the NDA strategy, Advani said, "We exchanged notes and decided to continue to watch the developments and if a decision is to be taken we will take it later.

We are not in a hurry.

We will assemble once again.

Maybe we will also consult our Chief Ministers" .

"We will closely watch every development....

It is important that we (NDA partners) coordinate our efforts," Advani said.

"The 1969 Presidential elections were the most memorable.

Indira Gandhi, who was the Congress President and also the Prime Minister, got the official candidate of the party defeated by appealing for conscience votes.

The 1969 polls were absolutely unforgettable and sensational.

This one is the second most sensational," Advani said.

The NDA insisted that there is no mutual trust in the UPA.

"I have never before seen such total lack of coherence and distrust," Advani said, adding that one example of this was a proposal from a UPA ally that the prime minister should be made the president.


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