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Updated: April 27, 2012 02:33 IST

Congress begins seeking out allies on Presidential race

Smita Gupta
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A view of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. With two months left for the installation of the new President, the Congress hopes to achieve an agreement with its allies on a common candidate. File photo
A view of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. With two months left for the installation of the new President, the Congress hopes to achieve an agreement with its allies on a common candidate. File photo

Party hopes to achieve agreement with allies on common candidate

With two months left for the installation of the new President, the Congress has begun consultations with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) allies in the hope of achieving agreement on a common name. Defence Minister A.K. Antony will be flying down to Chennai shortly to meet Dravida Munnetra Kazagham president M. Karunanidhi to discuss the coming presidential elections, senior Congress sources said.

And when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrives here on May 4/5 for talks between the Centre and the States on the contentious National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), she is likely to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the subject of the next President, according to senior Congress sources.

Mamata-SP envoy meet

Ms. Banerjee recently met Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's envoy, Kiranmay Nanda, on the issue, leading to speculation that the regional parties would try and force a name of their choice on the Congress. After this meeting, a section in the Congress, angered by the episode, began to say the party could get Vice-President Hamid Ansari elected President with the help of the Left parties even if the Trinamool decided to support some other candidate. But, of course, if the Congress were to do that, the Trinamool would not be able to continue in the UPA. “The Congress has to first get its own partners on board,” party sources stressed.

Pawar's clarification

On Thursday, Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar met Ms. Sonia Gandhi at her invitation: he is believed to have clarified to her that he had not said that he was in favour of a non-political President — what was important was that there should be consensus on a name.

In the first round of talks, the Congress is hoping to get the green signal on a common name from all its major partners, starting with the Trinamool, the DMK and the NCP — which have the largest chunk of votes after the Congress in the UPA. In the second part of this exercise, the Congress will begin discussions with parties that are supporting it from outside, especially the vote-rich SP and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.

In the final round, the Congress will talk to the opposition parties because it is still working to avoid a contest. But party sources have made it clear that the name that appears to be emanating from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) circles — that of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam — is unacceptable to it. If the BJP insists on that name, there will be a contest, Congress sources stressed.

However, even as Delhi is swirling with the names of presidential probables, the Congress is holding its cards close to its chest. In the end, it could even be a name currently not in circulation.

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Fact of the matter is that none should be made to feel as 'indispensable or the alike'! Religion & politics,however,must not be given any consideration, either way while processing the Presidential candidature: India being a democratic & secular state ! Only under very compelling & unavoidable circumstances, a second term for the top posts may be inevitable. Dr Rajindra Prasad,the first president, was the only one to occupy the coveted chair for two terms ,consecutively. Dr S Radhakrishnan, the V President too remained twice as such before getting elevated to be the next President.Dr Ansari,V Prez deserves to be considered to be the next president: if some other considerations do not block his candidature ! Even otherwise, India will have to go in for the election for both of the Top Positions. Being a politician or non-politician does not carry much weight while considering such appointments : Till date, except Dr APJ Kalam,the rest happened to be politicians only!

from:  avtar chauhan
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 21:44 IST

There are hundreds of non-political persons in India who have done yoeman service in various fields. Gone are the days when freedom fighters fought for the loaves. For India's future we should never have a rubber stamp political person as President. Hope sanity will prevail in those who elect him/her.

from:  P.S.Arunachalam
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 19:29 IST

Former Kalam`s greatest service to the Nation, that he put hurdles for Sonia-ji in becoming the PM of India. But she gained more power than the PM in the present set up. The greatest minus points about Dr. Kalam is that he had not disposed of the Rajiv Convicts mercy petitions-he ought to have rejected them or pardoned them. A Great sign of Indecessivness on his part. Recently he had gone to Sri lanka met President Rajapaksa, but failed to convince him the need for resolving the Tamils ethnic strife there. He belong to Tamils speaking Moslem minority and became the President of India and got the highest award of Bharat Ratna, thanks to the secularism.
But he has failed to proclaim this trait to the outside world when opportunity beconed him in Sri lanka. He is an academic and new to international diplomacy and internal political intriques. He should allow his second chance to others, if any offered to him. He already attained fulfillment.

from:  Sundaram
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 15:40 IST

It's time we make Infosys founder Mr. NarayanaMurthy the president of India for his immense contributions.

from:  Sreejith
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 15:08 IST

I am happy that Pratibha Patil's president term is coming to an end. She was one of our non-productive president of India. Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam was a finest president , who connect the President house to the young people of India. I want next president should be like Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam otherwise bring him back as a president.

from:  Karan
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 14:33 IST

While the country does need an'apolitical' person, the person occupying the Presidential Chair needs to free from 'political pressures' & have the guts o say 'NO' like Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam who refused to sign on the dotted line on the issue of 'Office of Profit Bill'. While other candidates may be preferred, the Congress Party would never like Dr. Kalam to become President once again for, he is not a 'Yes' man. He is a person who is uncompromising on certain basic values & will do anything for the common man as he has experienced the trials & tribulation we face everyday. T N Seshan may fit the bill, but the former CEC may not throw his hat into the ring having lost the race to K R Narayanan earlier. If the President blindly tows the govt. line, it hardly matters who becomes the President.

from:  S. Balakrishnan
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 13:26 IST

Please elect a sensible and educated person to be the next President of India. Those who can see pulses of the people without undermining Constitution of India should be the criteria. Protection of the rights of the dis-advantaged castes and minorities are the need of the hour.

Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 12:29 IST

The congress party's usual practice is to float a few names and canvass around all political parties for their consent/concurrence by offering some bait so that their opted person is finally installed. But the august position needs a person who is intellectually far superior, understands the poor & rich very well and take the nation forward in these complex years. It is therefore desible to select a maximum of ten names and elect one noble person through a draw as all are equals. No canvassing please, only merit matters.

from:  Vyas K Susarla
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 12:15 IST

We want a non-political & politically unbiased person. The Presidential Election system is one of the 2 biggest mistake the Constitution makers made. Other is no independent police system.

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 12:04 IST

yes , we want a president who is not from non political back ground

from:  BHanu
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 11:27 IST

It's a shame that we have to contest over the name of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. He was the man who brought the post to glory and dignified the country as well with his grand vision. I wish all our leaders could come to a conclusion on his name for not only he inspires millions but also fuel a desire to excel in whatever we do.

from:  Satya Prakash
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 10:26 IST

Unacceptable!!! Why not Mr. Kalam? He has got vision, intelligence and experience that makes him the best presidential candidate. Dear Congress leaders- Maybe he doesn't waste millions of money on his foreign trips, if this is your criteria for selection.

from:  neeraj joshi
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 10:11 IST

We want non political person as president. Mr Sreedharan of Merto rail or Mr Kurian of Amul or any other eminent non political illustrious citizen should only be considered.

from:  Ayyappa
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 10:00 IST

A right man need to be chosen for this highest post in the Country.
India is flooded with scandals after scandals in all ministries and departments and in all walks of life.He should not be a person inclined to indecision on vital issues ,shield and protect the culprits, and hang on the shoulders of the parties chosen him or her, he or she should be 100% great and represent pure,honest,dignified and magnificient India.Unlike before,16th President of India must necessarily the true and the best representative of India.Of course it is very difficult to find one such in this millions of crowded indian jan sangamam

from:  K.B.Sundaram.
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 09:54 IST

It is better to field a common candidate to defeat the congress nominee who will be a rubber stamp President to approve all the wrong policies of the government. Till now except mr.V.V.Giri almost all its party people or its nominees have been elected.
Politicians should be avoided at any cost especially who are close to congress party.

from:  rajan loknathan
Posted on: Apr 27, 2012 at 07:01 IST
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