New Delhi: Even as Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee emerges as the front runner in the race for becoming the next President of India, it won't be that easy for him. Ahead of the crucial meeting between UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, there could be other surprises.
According to sources, the Congress is keen on senior leader Karan Singh as the President, but Left leader AB Bardhan and NCP chief Sharad Pawar have said no to his candidature.
Congress leader in Uttar Pradesh Mohsina Kidwai has also emerged as one of the
possible candidates. Sources say Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav are unlikely to oppose her candidature.
Vice President Hamid Ansari is also an option that the Congress has been considering. However, sources say the Left Front and Mulayam Singh Yadav are not to keen on his candidature.
Mamata is also in favour of former West Bengal governor Gopal Gandhi as the President. However, he may not get support from the Congress and the Left Front.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee is also a possible candidate. Sources say Mamata is strongly in favour of his candidature and may propose his name. He is also acceptable across parties, but may not get support from the Left Front.
Mamata Banerjee will meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. Mamata and Mulayam Singh Yadav hold the key to the Rashtrapati Bhawan and for now both seem to have given the green signal to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Mulayam's residence was the first stop that Mamata made after landing in Delhi on Tuesday. "We did have talks, but no names were discussed. I will be meeting Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday," Mamata said.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, "The CWC has authorised Congress President Sonia Gandhi to take the final decision about the party's Presidential candidate. Whenever there is some decision taken, we will tell the media."