Chennai/Khargram(WB): The UPA leadership will build "maximum" consensus among its allies in deciding its Presidential nominee, Union Minister Salman Khurshid said on Sunday, as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee remained tightlipped over his possible candidature.

The principal opposition party BJP, meanwhile, said it would disclose its strategy on the Presidential elections only after the ruling UPA coalition announces its candidate.

"We are in the process. You will get a very good candidate. Our senior leadership is looking at the names and the leadership is in touch with all alliance partners," Khurshid told reporters in Chennai.

"I am sure that not only we will have an outstanding candidate but also the maximum amount of consensus (from UPA allies) that can be built around the candidate will be done.

The President of India must be a person who carries the conviction and support of as many political parties as possible. We hope to present such a candidate to the country," he said.

Against the backdrop of growing support for Mukherjee to be the UPA nominee, his Presidential prospects echoed at the programmes organised by the Congress during his two day visit to Murshidabad in West Bengal, whose Jangipur constituency is represented by him.

"We hope that he (Mukherjee) will be back here as the president of the country," influential Congress MP Arup Chowdhury told a Congress workers' meeting in Murshidabad presided by the Union Minister.

Mukherjee, however, evaded the issue, saying "I have to cut short my stay and leave for Delhi on Sunday evening as I have important meetings to attend there."

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said that until the ruling Congress party does not announce the name of its candidate for the President's post the party would keep its cards close to its chest.

On whether BJP would support Mukherjee's candidature, he said, "Let Congress party first name the candidate for the post, then only our party will disclose the strategy."

Stating that this time the presidential elections would be "interesting", he said it was not necessary that the ruling party candidate would be the winner.

"This time the presidential election results would be surprising and our party is working on this strategy," Hussain told reporters in Hyderabad.

Mukherjee had said in Kolkata yesterday that no one could become president on his own wish. "It is decided by the party. Party nominates. No one can become president on his own wish."

Janardan Dwivedi, head of the Congress media department and general secretary, said in Delhi on Saturday that no name had been finalised yet and the process of discussions with the allies and supporting allies is on.

CPI (M) Central Committee meanwhile authorised its Polit Bureau to formulate the party's strategy on Presidential polls after discussing with other Left and like-minded secular parties.

This was decided at the two-day meeting of the party's Central Committee, which ended in Delhi on Sunday.

Party sources said that Central Committee has authorized the Polit Bureau to formulate its strategy.

The CPI(M) and other Left parties have so far refused to spell out their preference and have been asking the UPA government to come up with a candidate having "widest possible acceptance" for the Presidency.

Left party leaders maintain that there should be a candidate for the Presidential election based on the "widest possible acceptance".


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