New Delhi: Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee on Thursday strongly pitched for former President APJ Abdul Kalam for the post of President and indicated that in case no consensus emerges on his candidature there will be a contest. "If there is no consensus then MP's should resort to conscience voting," said Mamata.
Rooting for Kalam, Mamata said, "Kalam is a formidable candidate for this country. Congress has a prerogative to declare or reject a candidate. I will be happy if Kalam agrees for a contest as Kalam will win the election. Kalam is our winning candidate."
Speaking to reporters after meeting SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Banerjee said "Kalam is our and Mulayam Singh Yadav's number one candidate. Don't say he is a BJP candidate, or Navin's (Patnaik) candidate or Mamata's candidate... Kalam was our candidate. He will be the best candidate."
She maintained there should be a consensus on Kalam and insisted that he is a candidate who holds the position and stature required for the top post. "Who can say that we will not support Kalam? Even in a direct election, the people of the country will support him," she said.
She maintained she and Yadav had given a "clarion call" for Kalam as he is a good person who should be elected to the top post. "We want a consensus on Kalam," she said.
The TMC Chief said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would also be a good choice and she would have been "happy" if he was but if "his party does not want him as a candidate" she could not do anything.
Trinamool Congress, which has teamed up with Samajwadi Party, floated the names of Kalam, along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Wednesday as a counter to UPA's nominee.