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Updated: April 20, 2012 09:23 IST

Congress on edge as SP, Trinamool meet

Smita Gupta
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West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. File photo
The Hindu
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. File photo

Mamata and Mulayam emissary met on possibility of their parties joining hands for presidential polls

With just over a month left for the close of nominations for the presidential elections, the ruling Congress is focusing all its energies on zeroing in on a candidate who will secure the approval of its allies in the United Progressive Alliance.

The UPA holds around 40 per cent of the votes, approximately 10 per cent ahead of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance. But given the unpredictability of its allies, particularly the erratic Trinamool Congress, the Congress would prefer not to risk a contest.

There are, of course, “friendly” non-NDA, non-UPA parties such as the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, both of which support the UPA from outside: however, their support cannot be taken for granted either.

Not surprisingly, therefore, an hour-long meeting between Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and SP supremo Mulayam Singh's emissary, Kiranmoy Nanda, on Tuesday in Kolkata on the possibility of the two parties joining hands for the presidential polls is causing unease in the Congress camp.

The two parties are apparently keen on a Muslim candidate and the name of the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam — who is also well regarded by the BJP — is being taken in this connection. The Congress would be happy with a Muslim president, but is not keen on Mr. Kalam's candidature, sources said.

The choice of Mr. Nanda as mediator is interesting as he was a minister in successive Left Front governments in West Bengal, while Mr. Singh enjoyed — and continues to enjoy — a good relationship with the CPI(M)'s national leadership.

Of course, after this meeting, Mr. Nanda was at pains to publicly state that his association with the Left Front in West Bengal was a “closed chapter”. The meeting is significant for another reason: earlier this year, there was speculation in political circles that the SP might replace the Trinamool in the UPA.

If the SP and the Trinamool band together, they could play a role in deciding who the next President is. It is also learnt that the SP has been in touch with the AIADMK.

The SP, whose strength has gone up substantially since the recent Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, is clearly in a mood to effectively deploy its newly acquired clout. There is even talk that senior SP leader Ramgopal Yadav, Mr. Mulayam Singh's cousin, is being pushed by his party for the post of Deputy Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, Lutyens's Delhi is awash with names for potential presidential candidates: Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, senior Congress leader and former Maharaja of Kashmir Karan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, Union Non-Conventional Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah, the former West Bengal Governor and Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

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For once, let us uphold the dignity of the office of The President and elect Gopal Krishna Gandhi.None of the incumbents measure up to the stature of this great personality.

from:  sumay sarangi
Posted on: Apr 28, 2012 at 20:02 IST

any one of kalam or gopal k. gandhi will be the best choice, as they are apolitical persons with highest personal integrity,but will the congress, more importantly sonia gandhi tick the names! sonia wants a congress novice for them in the august office. a country where merit is not the criteria watch out for the person! politicians are looking for the candidate on the basis of caste,religion or gender, what a shame!

from:  ashok
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 16:22 IST

Gopalkrishna Gandhi, is the best and right choice for Presidency....

from:  Madhan Mohan
Posted on: Apr 23, 2012 at 19:42 IST

Kalam is an academic and a thinker.Somehow he managed his earlier term of office without causing any harm to any body..It is unlikely that he can manage the future challenges that the country may likely to face when almost all the States gained prominence and bigger say in national affairs,if he is reelected.Federalism will be put into test as days passes.He has not proved he is a shrewd diplomat or tackled any critical issue as a Statesman and he simply completed his term tainted free and as a noble man.These qualities alone are not enough for a future President of India and whether he can fulfill the future demands of the States and the Country.Considering the enormity of the problems the Country is supposed to face in the days to come, we need men with a calibre of Sardar Patel.Syam Prasad Mookerjee,Rajaji,morarji.Chagla,Seshan,Krishna Iyer,Hazare and like. Country should not burden soft person like Kalam with thorny problems.

from:  Sundaram
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 21:43 IST

Shri. Gopalkrishna Gandhi, would be the best choice for Presidency. His selection as President will prove to be the right tribute paid to Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our Nation. Being the grandson of Gandhiji and Rajaji, he inherits their qualities naturally. He is a good administrator and his integrity is beyong question. I feel that Gopalkrishna Gandhi would be the apt choice for Presidency.

from:  Madhan Mohan
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 18:49 IST

Dr.Abdul Kalam is the most respected person in our country. If there was a direct election, I am sure he would be elected without any problem
as he is loved and respected by all citizens.

from:  Dipankar Ghosh
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 17:53 IST

Mr Abdul Kalam is best choice for the presidential seat, but congress will not back him up as he is seen as a NDA candidate for the presidential elections. Congress in no case will go with the candidate whos is backed up by the NDA.

from:  Vishwajeet Sinha
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 16:42 IST

It is true and people will be happy to have Mr. Abdul Kalam as President of India again

from:  Narayanan
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 15:04 IST

Mr Kalam the best candidate for India, Hindustan

from:  Kishor kumar
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 14:25 IST

Large indian public is supporting Mr Abdul Kalam,He is best personality for President of india and scient which is useful for our country. I will be happiest person in the world, if Kalam is president of india

from:  saida megavath
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 13:07 IST

India to elect its 16th President in july this year.Hamid Ansari,Pranab,Karansingh,Sam Pitroda,Meira Kumar,Shivraj Patil and APJ.Abdul Kalam, are mentioned as possible contendors to the post.But none has suggested , Gopal Krishna Gandhi, 67 years old, grand son of Mahathma Gandhi and Rajaji,and a sweet blend of Gujarathi and Tamil for this post,as a contetendor. with much more plus points,than others.He is apolitical,and with an excellent non-partisan record of public service,as former bureaucrat,diplomat,and governor.He could emerge as a consensus candidate across party lines.Having gone through his Rajendra Prasad Memorial Lecture recently ( December,4th ,2011) in Chennai,I am inspired to make this suggestion He is imbibed with the spirit of Gandhiji,Rajaji and Jaya Prakash Narayan...By all counts,he could emerge as a consensus candidate across part lines.No person from Gandhi family ever aspired for any political post ever since india got its independence.

from:  K.B.Sundaram.
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 11:56 IST

Choosing Bharat Ratna Dr. Kalam as the presidential candidate, if they do so, will be a appriciable move by the two parties.They will most likely be supported by BJP (or to be said entire NDA) who wanted Dr. Kalam to continue as president for 2007-2012.

from:  vinay kumar
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 11:15 IST

By and large Indian public would favour Mr Abdul Kalam but congress for some very calid known reasons do not like independant persons in any position of eminence.
We are at mercy of our system which does not allow us to cast votes for highest position but permits us to vote for panchayayts.

from:  v k mehra
Posted on: Apr 20, 2012 at 04:57 IST
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