Bharatiya Janata Party leader Shahnawaz Hussain, member of Lok Sabha from Bhagalpur, claimed on Sunday that the issue of the next President of India was still open. National Democratic Alliance leaders who met on Sunday deferred the matter for a few days and asked non-UPA chief ministers their point of view.
Senior BJP leader L K Advani has been authorised to hold talks with them before calling another round of meeting to reach a conclusion.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters, Hussain said that the issue of who will be the next President was still open and it will hold more consultations with its allies before arriving at a decision.
"The Presidential poll process has just started. No one has filed the nomination papers...UPA has only announced its candidate," he said.
The issue is far from over with the names of former President APJ Abdul Kalam and P A Sangma still doing the rounds he said. Rajya Sabha MP Ram Jethmalani, who is currently abroad, has thrown his hat in the ring. He had filed a petition before the Supreme Court on black money stashed away abroad and has charged Pranab Mukherjee for with holding the names of the beneficiaries.
"It is open. Who will be the next President is not yet decided. BJP and NDA are holding serious discussions on this. The Presidential poll is still totally open," Hussain added.
He said that a consensus could not be reached as there were serious differences within the NDA. He said that since this was an election for the country's top job, more discussions were required.
He claimed that NDA was united as ever and the Shiv Sena has also joined NDA on this issue. "Shiv Sena is also fully with the NDA and not much should be read into its absence at NDA's meeting today," he said.
"NDA will reach out to its chief ministers and other parties also and then we will discuss (the issue) again... L K Advani is in touch with all," he said.
Hussain refused to reply to questions on whether BJP or NDA will field its candidate against Mukherjee.