Favouring a consensus amidst division in the NDA over opposing UPA Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that the JD(U) would ‘go with the NDA’s decision’.
“Like the other constituents, the JD (U) too will abide by the final decision on the Presidential poll”, Mr. Kumar told reporters here.
Mr. Kumar, however, refrained from clearly spelling out whether his party, JD (U) will support a contest against Mr. Mukherjee, saying, “There has been free and fair discussion (in the NDA meeting)”.
“We are in favour of consensus (on the Presidential poll) but how will there be a consensus on the issue unless NDA itself comes up with a consensus. Efforts are on to build a consensus and, hence, consultations are continuing in NDA”, he said.
Mr. Kumar said that the NDA had sufficient time to take a final decision to put up its own candidate or support any other candidate in the fray and hold more talks.
“Talks are going on. More discussions will follow. A churning of views is going on in the NDA. As long as a decision is not taken, it is not appropriate for the allies to give their viewpoints outside”, he said when asked whether JD (U) would support an NDA contest against Mr. Mukherjee’s candidature.
He said, “There is no need for anybody to air their own view on the Presidential poll. It is called one-upmanship”
On senior JD (U) leader Shivanand Tiwari’s reported remarks favouring Mr. Mukherjee as a consensus candidate, Mr. Kumar said that the former had said ‘supplementary’ things about the Presidential poll that were not reported by the media.
Mr. Kumar said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the union Finance Minister had talked to him on telephone to seek support in the Presidential poll, but said that they had also spoken to other chief ministers and political leaders of various parties, including the JD (U) national president Sharad Yadav.
The chief minister said that his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee had not spoken to him to discuss the Presidential poll.
On his personal views on the candidature of the former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma and Mr. Mukherjee, the chief minister said, “my personal views are not important though I respect both leaders“.
On the candidature of former president A P J Abdul Kalam in the Presidential poll, he refused to comment but said that he enjoyed good rapport with him.