Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will call a meeting of opposition parties to evolve a consensus for the election of the country's next President, Congress spokesman Anand Sharma said on Monday.
Asked whether the election of the next President was discussed between Vajpayee and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Sunday, Sharma said, "The prime minister made an informal reference (to the issue)."
"The prime minister indicated that he would have a formal meeting for the purpose," Sharma said.
So far, the Congress along with the Left parties and the Rashtriya Janata Dal have favoured the candidature of the President K R Narayanan.
However, the President is understood to have told a delegation, which visited him recently, that he would not contest if a consensus could not be arrived at on his candidature.
The ruling National Democratic Alliance, on the other hand, has expressed its reluctance to support Narayanan's candidature and has indicated that it would prefer Vice President
Krishna Kant as its candidate for the Presidential post.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership is consulting the NDA constituents, including the Telugu Desam Party on the issue.
The TDP had recently indicated that its preference for the Presidential and Vice Presidential posts were Vice President Kant and Andhra Pradesh Governor C Rangarajan respectively.
But party chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu has also said that his party would be willing to support any candidate endorsed by the NDA.
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