Making Bharatiya Janata Party's first move to reach out to non-National Democratic Alliance parties on the Presidential poll, party leader L K Advani on Thursday discussed the issue with All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Jayalalithaa with both deciding to coordinate with each other and slamming the United Progressive Alliance for handling the matter "clumsily".
"All names figured...doesn't need elaboration.... We will coordinate and see to it that the decision as to who is the President of the country is taken properly and we will coordinate about that with all parties," Advani told the media after a 45-minute meeting with Jayalalithaa in Chennai.
The development comes a day after the Presidential race saw a dramatic twist with United Progressive Alliance ally Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and its supporter Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav proposing three names and rejecting Congress' choice of Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari.
The two regional party leaders named APJ Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee, taking the Congress off-guard shortly after Banerjee met Sonia Gandhi and made public the UPA chairperson's choice. which has not gone down well with the lead partner of the alliance.
"Happenings in New Delhi particularly Mamataji meeting Soniaji and subsequently Mamataji and Mulayam Singh taking a stand in respect of presidential poll.. all these have made the situation very dicey," Advani, who is in Chennai as part of a parliamentary delegation, said explaining his sudden meeting with Jayalalithaa.
Coming down heavily on the UPA on its handling of the Presidential election issue, Advani said, "I have never seen any earlier government handling an important election like the Presidential election so clumsily in such a manner that its position gets worse day-by-day."
Since the time the scams broke out two-and-half years ago, there had been a "paralysis" of decision making in the UPA government affecting every part and every sector of governance, he added.
Agreeing with Advani that the UPA had handled Presidential poll issue "clumsily", Jayalalithaa, who spoke to the media separately, said events of yesterday showed that the issue had been "botched up" by the Congress.
"He wanted to meet me...Advaniji is a respected senior leader, patriarch of the BJP and I am the leader of my party. It is natural we discussed presidential election," said the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, who along with her Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik have strongly pitched for former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma's candidacy.
Advani said the UPA had not been able to create a consensus even within its camp on the issue. "I have come to Chennai so I felt that it would be useful to have a discussion on this issue with the chief minister of Tamil Nadu also."
"We discussed this issue of Presidential elections at length. What are prospects, what are the possibilities. I mentioned to her that the NDA is meeting on Friday discuss the situation. There is yet time and what happens in the NDA meeting on Friday I can't say. But some of my colleagues might say that the Congress party take a decision first before deciding anything," he said.
"I mentioned this to Jayalalithaa. And we said it would be proper we keep in touch with each other and coordinate our approach on the issue of the Presidential election," he said.
Advani said Jayalalithaa had telephoned him recently informing him about their choice of Sangma, who also met him two days back. "All these issues we have discussed and we have also agreed that we will continue to be in touch with each other and coordinate our efforts."
On Jayalalithaa's optimism about NDA's candidate and if Kalam's name figured during the meeting, he said: "All names figured. I think what I have said doesn't need any elaboration."
Asked about Manmohan Singh's name being proposed for presidentship, he said the Congress had already announced that he would continue to be the prime minister.