New Delhi: It is the last lap in the race for the President. Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee is expected to meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. Mamata and Samajwadi Party supremo 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.
The Mamata-Sonia meeting may be seen as a crucial meeting, the one in which Mamata is expected to stress on the need for a financial package for Bengal. Mamata will also meet Mulayam again after her meeting with Sonia. Sources say Mulayam and Mamata also discussed a possible consensus on the Vice Presidential candidate.
BJP leader, Jaswant Singh, who is believed to have positioned himself for the post, too met Mulayam earlier on Tuesday.
But the opposition to Pranab comes not from the allies like Mamata, or Mulayam. It comes from within the Congress. Sources say Sonia is worried as to who can step into Pranab's shoes. But the party also finds itself tied in knots.
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.
With Pranab gaining wide acceptance cutting across party lines, it may be difficult for Sonia to deny Pranab the post he wants, unless she can pull out a surprise winner.