New Delhi: As the countdown starts for the Presidential polls, the adrenaline is running fast as who will  come out victorious for the Raisina Hill. The political factions are doing their level best to figure out their political equations and field the best candidate for the country’s top most post.

Divided NDA fails to decide on Prez poll

A meeting of the opposition National Democratic Alliance led by the BJP on Sunday failed to arrive at a decision on its presidential poll candidate, even as differences within the alliance came to the fore after the Shiv Sena did not attend the meet.

The NDA may either decide to field its own candidate against Pranab Mukherjee or support his candidature. It could also consider the candidature of former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, proposed by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, or former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma.

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Shiv Sena skips crucial NDA meet
Shiv Sena did not attended the crucial NDA meet since it was reportedly upset over the its failure to take a decision quickly on contesting the presidential poll.

Shiv Sena is also said to be against the NDA supporting former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma, who is being projected as a likely candidate by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa and Orissa Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik.

Shiv Sena is the oldest ideological ally of the BJP. It had not backed former Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat in the Presidential poll last time despite BJP and several others in the alliance supporting him.
At that time, it had backed Pratibha Patil--she being the first Maharashtrian to be nominated for the top post of President.

RSS chief favours Kalam

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat came out in support of the candidature of A P J Abdul Kalam in the Presidential poll, saying he is apolitical and that it will be good if he is elected.

"It will be good if he (Kalam) is elected as President. The comman man thinks that he is a nice man. While rest of the people has a political background, he does not. We can only give our opinion. But only lawmakers can elect the president,” Bhagwat told reporters here.

PM seeks support for Pranab

With UPA nominating Pranab Mukherjee as its Presidential candidate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached out to various political parties including the main opposition BJP to seek support.

Soon after his name was announced by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Singh called Leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley respectively, sources said.

He also called up SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, BSP chief Mayawati, CPI leader A B Bardhan and former Prime Minister and JD (S) leader H D Devegowda.

Cong hopes Mamata to come on board

With Pranab Mukherjee's nomination as UPA candidate for the Presidential poll gaining support, Congress hoped that Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress would also come on board.

"She is still our ally...the best is yet to come" remarked party general secretary Janardan Dwivedi to a host of questions on the issue soon after Sonia Gandhi announced Mukherjee's candidature.

Didi firm on Kalam's candidature

Unfazed by the isolation after Congress-led UPA named Pranab Mukherjee as its Presidential nominee, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said her party remained firm on the candidature of A P J Abdul Kalam and said "the game has just begun".

"We are firm on the candidature of Kalam. He is the fittest candidate. We are not shifting from our stand of what we have announced earlier," Banerjee told PTI at the state secretariat.

'All efforts made to console Mamata'

Reflecting his angst over ally Mamata Banerjee's dramatic rejection of UPA's Presidential nominees and her continued defiance, Congress leader Digvijay Singh said there is a "limit" to which one can "bend" as certain eventualities have to be faced if they cannot be avoided.

"All efforts have been made to console her, accept her views, accept her tantrums...beyond a certain limit, the decision is hers...there is a limit to which you can bend to...there are certain eventualities, which if it cannot be avoided has to be faced," Singh said replying to questions as to what extent Congress will bend to stop Trinamool Congress from walking out of the alliance if she chooses to do so.

Singh also said it was "very embarrassing" for party President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Banerjee not only rejected the names of both UPA nominees for President but joined hands with Samajwadi Party and announced three more names, including that of the Prime Minister when they "did not have consent of any of the three".

Sonia hailed for showing Mamata her place

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is the toast of India's grand old party for calling Mamata Banerjee's bluff on the presidential election. Congress leaders are on cloud nine after Gandhi showed her authority when Trinamool Congress chief Banerjee sought to trip the UPA.

In no time after Banerjee announced unilaterally that her party would prop up former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for presidency, the Congress hit back with a vengeance.

Gandhi, who is said to be ailing, got into a series of quick behind-the-scenes confabulations with party colleagues, allies and others to pick Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to contest the presidential poll.

‘Trinamool not dependent on Cong’

The Trinamool Congress is not dependent on the Congress, rather the Congress is anxiously waiting for its decision on presidential election, a senior minister in the Mamata Banerjee government claimed.

"We are not dependent on Congress, rather the Congress is eagerly waiting for our decision on Presidential poll," Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim said.

Flaying Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury's denunciation of Mamata's negative stand on Pranab Mukherjee, the minister said he was not bothered about what he said.

"People know the stature of our leader," Hakim said.

Didi may patch up with Pranab: Trivedi

Congratulating Pranab Mukherjee for his candidature in the presidential race, TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi said, “. Pranab is a politician and an administrator par excellence. He deserves to be nominated for the top-most post. As far as I know Mamata di, she is a very emotional person. I would not be surprised if Mamata di announces her support for Pranab da. I foresee a patch-up between UPA and TMC."

Left parties to decide on June 21

Left parties will meet on June 21 in Delhi to arrive at a decision on the July 19 Presidential election, General Secretary of Revolutionary Socialist Party T J Chandrachoodan said .

Asked whether his party would propose a name at the meeting, he told reporters at the end of the party's two-day central committee meet here: "We have not decided anything, but we don't want to support a candidate fielded by Congress or BJP."

I am still in the Prez race: Sangma
NCP leader P A Sangma said that he is still in the race for the President's post and has sought support of Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee for his candidature.
"I am still in the race. I have made an appeal to all political parties to support my candidature. Since NDA meeting was scheduled for Sunday, I spoke to many of the NDA leaders yesterday till late in the evening, appealing them that they should extend their support to my candidature," he told reporters here.
NCP has been opposing Sangma's candidature, pledging its support to UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee.    

BJD sticks to Sangma as Prez candidate

With NCP leader P A Sangma refusing to pull out of the Presidential race, the ruling BJD in Odisha, which was the first to moot his name for the top post, stuck to its support for the former Lok Sabha Speaker.

"Having proposed Sangma's name as the Presidential candidate, the BJD is whole-heartedly supporting the prominent tribal leader," senior MP and BJD Parliamentary Party leader Arjun Charan Sethi said.

Recalling that BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was the first to moot the name of Sangma for the top post, Sethi said "there has been no change in our party's stand on the issue."

"As long as Sangma is in the race, BJD will continue to support him without deviating from its earlier decision," said another senior BJD leader.

I will contest against Pranab:Jethmalani

In a surprise move, noted lawyer and BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Ram Jethmalani, on Saturday jumped into the presidential poll fray saying that he would contest for the top post if the saffron party decides to back Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's candidature.

When contacted by Jagran Post to know his reaction on the issue he didn't respond to it.

Number Game

With support of SP and BSP, the UPA candidate is in a position to garner nearly half of the total vote value of 10,98,882. On its own, UPA has a vote value of 4.12 lakh after deducting TMC's 48,049.

But the addition of 1.12 lakh vote value of SP (68,812) and BSP (43,349) will take the vote value of UPA to 5.24 lakh. This leaves the ruling alliance with a slight deficit of 25,000 vote value, assuming all other parties are ranged against the UPA candidate.

The BJP-led NDA has a vote value of 3.04 lakh while the left Parties account for over 51,000 vote.


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