With the United Progressive Alliance [ Images ] announcing Pranab Mukherjee [ Images ] as its Presidential nominee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] on Saturday reached out to Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu [ Images ] requesting him to support the veteran Congress leader. Dr Singh and the Finance Minister also reached out to Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar for support but he was non-committal.
Kumar received telephonic calls from Singh and Mukherjee but he told them that he will discuss the issue with party leaders, sources close to him said.
The JD-U is a key constituent of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA which will be meeting in Patna on Sunday to firm up its stand on the Presidential poll issue, particularly in the wake of the United Progressive Alliance nominating the finance minister for the top job.
The JD-U has 21 Lok Sabha MPs, nine members in Rajya Sabha and 118 MLAs in Bihar Assembly.
The NDA is in a dilemma as to whether to field any candidate against Mukherjee or support P A Sangma, whose candidature has been proposed by the All India [ Images ] Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [ Images ] and Biju Janata Dal.
Trinamool Congress [ Images ] is pushing the candidature of former President A P J Abdul Kalam [ Images ] but the JD-U seems reluctant to back him and is understood to have made it known at the NDA meeting held in New Delhi [ Images ] on Friday.
JD-U national spokesman Shivanand said on Saturday he would like a "graceful send off" to be given to Mukherjee who is anyway on the verge of retirement, suggesting his inclination for supporting the veteran Congress leader for Presidentship.
Sources close to Kumar insisted that no discussion has taken place in the party on Mukherjee's candidature.
Tiwari, who is in Patna and will attend the NDA meet on Sunday along with party chief and NDA Convener Sharad Yadav, said he was not aware of Mukherjee making a telephonic call to Kumar.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa [ Images ] and her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, who also got on phone with Chandrababu, urged him to endorse the candidature of former Lok Sabha Speaker [ Images ] P A Sangma for the July 19 Presidential election, party sources said.
The TDP, however, remained indecisive on whom to support in the election.
Sangma had met Chandrababu Naidu in Hyderabad early this week and requested the latter to support his candidature for the President's post.
The TDP said it would take a decision on whom to support in the presidential election after consulting other parties.
The politburo of the TDP, which met under the chairmanship of Chandrababu Naidu in Hyderabad, discussed the presidential election issue but did not come to any conclusion on its support.
"We have decided to take a final decision after discussing the issue with other political parties," Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party leader Nama Nageswara Rao told reporters after the politburo meeting.