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President polls: DMK ready to support Pranab

Source: PTI
May 05, 2012 23:04 IST
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Backing for Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee got further boost with United Progressive Alliance constituent Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam endorsing his name for the post of President over which the Congress hopes to build a consensus across the political spectrum.

"If he is the candidate of the UPA coalition, the DMK will not hesitate to back his candidature," DMK chief M Karunanidhi told reporters in Chennai.

Asked about his earlier observation that his party favoured a "good President" and whether Mukherjee could be the one, the DMK chief said, "I have no objection. But there has been no decision on the presidential candidate."

The DMK leader, whose party is a key partner in the UPA-led government at the Centre, recalled that he had invited the finance minister as early as in 1969 for a conference on state autonomy.

Asked whether Mukherjee was acceptable to the DMK, Karunanidhi said: "If the majority opinion is that, then DMK will also subscribe to it."

His archrival and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, however, parried questions on her party's support to Mukherjee saying the party has not yet been approached by anybody in this regard.

"The AIADMK has not yet finalised its stand or strategy with regard to Presidential elections. And no concrete proposal has been brought to us so far by anybody," she told reporters at the Tamil Nadu House in New Delhi.

Another Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of Odisha belonging to neither the UPA nor National Democratic Alliance also was non-committal when he said it is early days and they would take a decison later.

The NCP part of the UPA said it is working towards achieving a consensus on the name of the Presidential candidate. "We are hopeful that a consensus would emerge soon and our candidate will achieve a smooth victory in the Presidential elections scheduled for July," he said.

Sources in the Congress said that the next President will be a UPA candidate and not only a Congress one thereby indicating that they would name the candidate only after a consensus on it has been achieved with the constituents. The sources also said that the party was hopeful of a consensus on the name across the political spectrum but refused to name any candidate.

A party leader speaking separately on the condition of anonymously, meanwhile, said that the perception of stagnation in Mukherjee's political career as well as building consensus are the issues that have to be addressed.

Former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said the nation's pride would be enhanced if either Vice-President Hamid Ansari or Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is chosen as

President. "Hamid Ansari is a good friend of mine and a knowledgeable person. Pranab Mukherjee is a walking encyclopedia. Whoever occupies the post will follow law and precedents" he told the media in Kumbakonam.

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