Crucial announcement likely in a day or two

With pressure mounting from different quarters urging him to contest the Presidential election irrespective of the numbers or results, the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, may enter the fray, sources close to him said on Saturday.

Even as Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee and NDA leaders were constantly in touch with him, hectic activity was witnessed all through the day at No. 10, Rajaji Marg, official residence of Mr. Kalam in Delhi, on Saturday. The former President sat through brainstorming sessions with his close aides, scientist friends and former bureaucrats seeking their opinion.

After several rounds of talks, a couple of NDA representatives, including Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, who came to see him, were given an indication that Mr. Kalam might be willing to contest. They were told to hold discussions with like-minded parties and get back with a final figure, the sources said.

When contacted, V. Ponraj, Adviser to Mr. Kalam, said it was a hectic day with a lot of visitors coming from various political parties. “Thousands of emails, SMS and signature campaign letters are pouring in from all over the country asking Mr. Kalam to contest. He was overwhelmed by the support of the people, particularly youth. At least 5,000 comments and 35,000 likes have registered in the Facebook where users have appealed him to join the fray,” he said.

The 80-year-old ‘Missile Man' sounded “positive” at the end of the day. Once the NDA confirms the support it can gather, the former President would be able to take a decision. A crucial announcement was likely in a day or two, the sources said, and added that a large number of youth who communicated via email offered to campaign for him.

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