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Maya may support UPA candidate for Prez
June 12, 2007 00:18 IST
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, whose Bahujan Samaj Party holds substantial number of votes in the Presidential election, indicated on Monday night that her party would support the United Progressive Alliance candidate for the top post.
Mayawati, who had a two-hour dinner meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on a day of hectic consultations among UPA allies on the issue, told reporters that there was 'considerable convergence of views' between Gandhi and her on the Presidential election.
"Had there been differences, would it have been possible to have a two-hour dinner meeting," Mayawati, who hosted the dinner, shot back when asked whether there had been divergence of views between the two leaders.
"The talks took place in a very good atmosphere. Gandhi put forth her point of view and I articulated my party's stand and there was considerable convergence of views," the BSP supremo said, a day ahead of a meeting among Left parties to decide their stand on the issue.
Mayawati said she would announce her party's stand in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The meeting between Gandhi and Mayawati capped a day of hectic consultations among UPA allies on the issue of Presidential election, which saw Gandhi holding prolonged talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] followed by a separate interaction between them and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
The Congress chief and the prime minister took stock of the situation as they were briefed by senior party leaders A K Antony and Ahmed Patel on the talks they had with UPA allies including RJD, LJP and NCP, in the last few days.
Significantly, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who has been talking to UPA allies on the election, was not present at the prime minister's residence when Gandhi met Dr Singh in the presence of Antony and Patel.
Antony and Patel met Mukherjee after the meeting at the prime minister's residence.
Mukherjee's absence fuelled speculation whether he was one of the candidates being considered for the high office even as media reports had projected Home Minister Shivraj Patil as the frontrunner.
Shortly after returning from a brief trip abroad, Gandhi plunged into discussions and went to Lalu Prasad's house where celebrations were on to mark his 60th birthday.
The prime minister was also present there but declined to say anything about the Presidential election to journalists.
From Lalu's residence, Gandhi drove to Mayawati's house for a crucial meeting with the BSP chief whose party, with nearly 60,000 votes, could tilt the balance in favour of Congress.
The Left parties are meeting on Tuesday to decide their stand on the Presidential issue.
The meeting assumes significance in view of reports that the Left has reservations about Patil's candidature against the backdrop of the possibility of Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat becoming an independent opposition candidate.
As Gandhi held talks, Congress backed up the prime minister's statement seeking a consensus on the UPA nominee saying it was open to the idea of consultations with the opposition on the issue.