Prime Minister A B Vajpayee on Monday afternoon told leader of the opposition Sonia Gandhi that the National Democratic Alliance would propose the name of scientist A P J Abdul Kalam for the post of President.
Briefing reporters about their 10-min meeting, senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh told reporters in Delhi that Sonia Gandhi asked the prime minister if the NDA's decision on the issue was final.
When told it was, she said her party would consider the suggestion, he added.
Singh said that the Congress had not yet budged from its decision to support a second term for President K R Narayanan.
Later in the evening, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee made a formal announcement of the decision to National Democratic Alliance constituents at a meeting in Delhi, NDA convener George Fernandes told reporters.
Kalam was fielded for the country's top job only after taking his consent, Fernandes said.
"We expect support from all political parties" for Kalam's candidature, he added.
Sources said TDP supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had spoken to Kalam on phone.
The prime minister held consultations with Naidu, BSP leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and NCP leader P A Sangma on the issue.
Vajpayee also spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, CPI-M leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet and CPI general secretary A B Bardhan on phone on the issue.
Coverage of the election for the 11th President of India
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