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Home > News > PTI

Pranab emerging as top contender in Prez race

May 18, 2007 00:18 IST

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External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee seems to be emerging as a top contender in the race for the Presidency, with the Communist Party of India-Marxist openly supporting his candidature on Thursday. 

The Congress, however, said no decision has been taken yet on the ruling United Progressive Alliance's nominee.

"If the Congress and the UPA put up Pranab Mukherjee, we said we will support him," CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury told reporters a day after four Left parties met and discussed the strategy for the presidential elections.

But, he said, the decision has to be taken by the Congress and UPA as to who they want to field.

This is the first statement by any Left leader on support to a UPA candidate in the upcoming Presidential elections.

Congress sources said the party will first discuss its choice of the Presidential nominee within the UPA and then consult the Left parties.

The sources, however, said support of the Left was indeed important for the election of a nominee for the top job.

With Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekawat being projected as Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance's nominee for the Presidential elections, BJP president Rajnath Singh reiterated that the NDA has authorised former premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee to hold consultations with the alliance leaders on the choice of its nominee.

"Within a few days NDA will decide on the candidate," Singh said in Thiruvananthapuram. Singh, however, did not rule out the possibility of consensus among political parties on the Presidential candidate.

Meanwhile, Amar Singh of Samajwadi Party, which was approached by the BJP on Wednesday for support to its candidate, said it would be difficult for the SP 'to go with NDA'.

Singh said his party had good relationship with the CPI-M but parties like TDP, AGP, AIADMK and INLD gave support to the SP during the " difficult times" recently and it would not take a decision without consulting them.

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