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Antony meets Karunanidhi ahead of presidential polls

"It was a very, very fruitful meeting. I'll report to the Congress President whatever he said," Antony told reporters after the meeting. 

"Soniaji asked me to go to Chennai to meet the DMK chief and discuss the present political situation. I paid my respect and had a detailed discussion about the political situation," he said.

"He (Karunanidhi) is the senior-most leader of the country and one of the closest allies of UPA. We always value his advice".

DMK Parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu and Karunanidhi's daughter and MP Kanimozhi were also present at the meeting.

DMK Parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu and Karunanidhi's daughter and MP Kanimozhi were also present at the meeting.

"They discussed about the forthcoming Presidential elections and other political matters. The discussion was not on the issue of candidate," DMK spokesman T.K.S. Elangovan told IANS.

He said the two leaders talked about the Presidential elections in general and not any particular probable candidate.

He also said that DMK had not suggested the name of any Presidential candidature nor it would oppose any candidate.

"The party has no issue if the proposed candidate is from Tamil Nadu. The last time we had suggested that the candidate should be a woman. This time, we have not made any suggestion," he said.

The Antony-Karunanidhi meeting was part of a series, which started with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi last week meeting Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, during which the latter sought consensus over the presidential candidate.

Gandhi is likely to next meet Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

Congress will also hold meetings with Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party over name of candidates, before meetings opposition parties.

NCP is said to have backed Vice-President Hamid Ansari for the top post.

Even Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's name is doing the rounds.

However, several parties have expressed the desire to have an apolitical president.

Also, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is unlikely to support any active Congress member for the post, said a source in the Opposition party.

The DMK spokesman said three groups would decide on the name of the new president: Congress-led United Progressive Alliance UPA, BJP -led National Democratic Alliance and the Left parties. A candidate proposed by just one group could not be the winner, he said.

The Congress has 31 percent of the total votes against 24 percent of the BJP in an electoral college for voting for the president. The UPA has a little over 40 percent of the total votes as against 57 percent it had in the last elections. The National Democratic Alliance has less than 30 percent. 

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