New Delhi:  CPI(M) on Thursday asked the Congress to take the initiative in building a consensus on the candidate for the Presidential election though it indicated it was not averse to supporting either Vice President Hamid Ansari or Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the post.

Party MP and politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the Left parties would discuss the Presidential Election issue at their meeting on Friday.

"Election of the President with consensus is in the country's favour but if there is no consensus then elections will be held. It is the responsibility of the ruling party to evolve a consensus on the issue. They should take initiative and try to build consensus," he told reporters here.

Yechury noted that when A P J Abdul Kalam was fielded in 2002, the Left had nominated Lakshmi Shegal as there was no consensus.

LEFT’S PROBABLE CANDIDATES

To a question on Left's stand on probable candidates like Ansari and Mukherjee, he said if the Congress has narrowed it down to two names, then Left would like to see on whose name there is consensus.

"That is the best approach. As far as Hamid Ansari is concerned, the Left had proposed his name for Vice Presidentship last time. As far as Pranab Mukherjee is concerned, the name was doing rounds last time also and we said we have no objection," he said.

"The point is not that where we stand, the point is on whose name there is consensus," Yechury said. Meanwhile, CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy told reporters at Thrissur in Kerala that it would be desirable to have a politician for the post of President.

PRANAB MUKHERJEE AS PREZ NOMINEE

On whether the Left parties would support the candidature of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the event of Congress fielding him, Reddy said a final decision would be taken only after discussions.

"It will be desirable to put up a consensus candidate for the post of the President," he said at a meet-the-press programme. He reiterated that Left parties would not support former President Abdul Kalam for the second time.

To a question on merger of CPI(M) and CPI, he said there was no such agenda as there were some practical difficulties but efforts for "greater unification" of these two parties would be speeded up. Reddy said, "CPI in Kerala has no problems in continuing with the LDF-led by CPI(M)."

(Agencies)
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