New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav have shown that no major decision can be taken without them. They stumped the Congress on Wednesday by rejecting party President Sonia Gandhi's choices for the Presidential candidate.
The Congress has reasons to worry as the race for the President's post got complicated after Mamata and Mulayam's twist. Rejecting Sonia's choices that were - Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari - Mamata and Mulayam proposed three names those of - Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former President PAJ Abdul Kalam and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee. If UPA's candidate loses the Presidential elections, the government will fall and snap elections would be called. Mamata and Mulayam seem to have opened the possibility of a federal front being formed of the state leaders.
Sonia Gandhi's credibility is on test to ensure the nomination of a preferred Congress candidate. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's credibility has also been damaged by allies suggesting he could be made the President instead of staying on as the Prime Minister.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi\'s credibility is on test to ensure the nomination of a preferred Congress candidate.
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has openly questioned the merit of the Prime Minister, saying India needs a President who can stay silent. "All the problems of Congress party will be resolved if Manmohan Singh is made the President. This will clear the way for Rahul Gandhi to become the Prime Minister. For the President's post, we need a person who remains silent, doesn't apply his mind and passes a bill without much difficulty. Such qualities are found in the current Prime Minister," Azam Khan said.
After the new twist, sources say former President APJ Abdul Kalam is the real choice of the allies, while some even say that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be a perfect fit.
Former President APJ Kalam's name is also once again doing the rounds. Sources have told CNN-IBN that he is the preferred choice of the allies. Infact, Mamata and Mulayam reportedly spoke to Kalam before proposing his name on Wednesday.
Sources say the BJP and NDA could back him as well. But Mamata and Mulayam have made it clear that Kalam should be seen as their independent candidate and not of the NDA. The Congress, though, is unlikely to agree.
So far, there hasn't been any official reaction from the Congress to the names proposed by Mamata and Mulayam, which are those of Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and former lok sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
However, sources say that there could be a UPA meeting called in a couple of days. NCP chief Sharad Pawar has already called for fresh talks within the UPA. There are signs that the next few days are going to be extremely challenging for the Congress and it's President, Sonia Gandhi.
The race gets complicated:
It's complete confusion after a series of political confabulations on who will be the next President of India. The contenders whose names have been taken out in the open are:
- Pranab Mukherjee, who Mamata Banerjee says is the first on Sonia Gandhi's list.
- Hamid Ansari is Sonia's second choice, says Mamata Banerjee.
But Mulayam Singh Yadav has now thrown up three names in a joint press conference with Mamata Banerjee. According to Mulayam, he has considered APJ Abdul Kalam as the President for the second time, Somnath Chatterjee and lastly Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
But with confusion in the UPA ranks and the Left rejecting Pranab Mukherjee and Hamid Ansari's names, the speculation continues amongst other names in the race, which include that of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. But it's clear that the race to the Rashtrapathi Bhawan is far from over.
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