Presidential poll: Priority to evolve consensus, says Congress
The Congress Thursday said it was a priority to evolve consensus within the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and with supporting parties on the next presidential nominee even as ally Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
"We are talking to our allies and the supporting parties... it is important to have a consensus within the UPA and with the parties supporting it," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters.
Sources said while the Congress has been able to take two UPA allies Nationalist Congress Party and the DMK on board on the names of Vice President Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the top post, it will make all attempts to ensure that the TMC chief is on the same page on the issue.
Sources said the Congress is also talking to Samajwadi Party, which supports it from outside. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said he wanted a political person to become the next president of the country.
The Congress also tried to downplay the remark of another party spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury, who said Mukherjee was indispensable for the government, thus limiting his prospects.
"Renuka is a responsible spokesperson... Pranab Mukherjee is indispensable not only for the government but for the party and the parliament... But finally a choice would have to be made by the UPA on the next presidential candidate," said Alvi.
Sources said Mamata is trying to bargain hard with the Congress in lieu of her support for the UPA presidential nominee.