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Home > News > Report

Next President will be from UPA-Left alliance

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | June 09, 2007 21:17 IST
Last Updated: June 09, 2007 23:12 IST

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Coverage: Dr Singh in Germany

The next President of India will be from the United Progressive Alliance-Left combine, announced Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Saturday.

"Next President will be of UPA-Left alliance. As to who that person will be, I think discussions are going on. You will know about it when the decision is taken," Dr Singh told media perons on his journey back home from Germany [Images].

"Last time when A P J Abdul Kalam was nominated by the National Democratic Alliance, UPA and Left had accepted their candidate," he said, adding, "So, I hope this time the NDA would endorse the candidate who is suggested by the UPA and Left allies."

The prime minister also responded to queries ranging from the Indo-US nuclear deal to the crisis in Sri Lanka [Images].

The nuclear deal

Dr Singh observed that the Indo-US agreement could be finalised before September. He termed his talks with US President George W Bush as productive.

Responding to a query by over the opposition by the NDA and the newly-formed Third Front with regard to the deal with US, the prime minister said: "It does not bother me. I have always said that we should judge politicians not by what they say but what they do when they do when they are in the seat of power."

"Let me say that I cannot assert that I got the final answer yesterday. I can only talk about the atmosphere. The agreement will need some more negotiations before we see light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

Commenting further, he said: "There are several ideas around. This is an ongoing process. All we are interested is that the substance of the 123 agreement should confirm with what I told the people of India, what I told Parliament."

"I think various permutations and combinations are being discussed. There is no finality, still we see light at the end of the tunnel," Dr Singh said.

When asked about Bush's response on the new proposals suggested by India on the 123 agreement, the prime minister said, "National Security Adviser M K Narayanan held thorough deliberations with his US counterpart Stephen Hadley on the proposals."

When asked about the time-frame for completion of the nuclear agreement, he said, "We did not discuss the time-frame. It was a short meeting. The President was not too well. In spite of that he did the honour of taking me aside and discussed the issue."

Replying to a query whether the deal would be finalized by September, the prime minister shot back saying, "It will be immature on my part to indicate any deadline. Why September? Why not earlier?"

Visit to Pakistan
The prime minister said he had accepted the invitation to visit Pakistan but added that no date had been fixed for the trip so far.

When asked to comment on the situation in Pakistan and the remarks by former Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif that India should not enter into any agreement with the country now, he said: "What is going on in Pakistan is their internal matter. We do not wan to interfere in Pakistan's governance. Whosoever is in power in Pakistan, our desire is to live in peace with them."

Cabinet Reshuffle

Dr Singh told media persons that the Cabinet reshuffle will take place after the Presidential elections.

Gujjar Violence

When asked about the caste conflict in Rajasthan, the prime minister said: "It is important for us to retain our sanity. Ours is a country of great complexity, diversity amd ancient wisdom."

"Recent violence relating to reservation is an aberration. All political parties and civil groups must play an important role," he added.

Eviction of Tamils

The prime minister joined issue with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi on the eviction of Tamils in Sri Lanka. He said New Delhi was concerned at the developments in the island nation, which he termed as violation of human rights.

"I have been sharing my anxiety about our neighbourhood with important world leaders," Dr Singh said, adding that the decision to expel a section belonging to a particular minority in Sri Lanka had pained him.

"We share the concern... I hope better sense will prevail," he added.

"I understand the concerns but human rights of the citizens should not be violated," he said.

Hoping that sense would prevail upon the country's government, he hailed the Sri Lankan Supreme Court's order halting the eviction of minority ethnic Tamils from the nation's capital Colombo.