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We had suggested Kalam's name first: NDA
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | June 18, 2007 18:40 IST
Sushma Swaraj, spokesperson of the National Democratic Alliance, claimed that it was the NDA that had suggested President A P J Abdul Kalam accept another term.
She was briefing newsmen after an NDA meeting held at former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's residence on Monday morning.
"Two months ago an NDA delegation led by Vajpayeeji had met Kalam and asked him to accept another term in office. He had said he would not contest but if there was consensus regarding his name, then he would have no problem. We agreed that a sitting President should not be made to contest elections for another term in office.
"Kalam asked us not to speak to the media and let other parties approach him. However, after the UPA announced its candidate, there was no room was left for consensus and we had to announce Bhairon Singh Shekhawat's name. We have votes on our side, which is why Vajpayeeji has said that Shekhawat's victory was definite," she said.
She admitted that the Third Front's decision not to announce its own candidate but to back President Kalam in case he agrees has come as a breather for the NDA.
Swaraj, however, denied that the alliance was hoping to cash in on cross-voting or horse-trading.
"For the first time, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has been calling up political leaders who are known to be part of NDA and asking them for support. This clearly shows that the UPA is rattled with the stature of Shekhawat and weakness of their own choice," she claimed.
The party maintained a studied silence on when Shekhawat would file his nomination. His rival Pratibha Patil will be filing her nomination on June 23.