New Delhi: With the ruling UPA yet to come out with a name, the Samajwadi Party on Monday queered the pitch in the race to the Rashtrapati Bhawan, saying even it can contest.
In the latest development with regard to the presidential elections, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh, addressing a press conference, said that even his party could contest.
He, however, added that the party would wait for the Congress to announce its candidate.
The Samajwadi Party chief also said that the party would not back a bureaucrat as the president. He said, "The candidate should have a political background, we are not in favour of a bureaucrat."
Referring to the possibility of the Congress declaring Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as its candidate, Mulayam said, "I do not know if the Congress has named Pranab Mukherjee as the party's candidate."
He also said that the party would decide who to support only after the candidates were announced, adding that the Samajwadi Party hasn't been contacted over the Presidential polls.
The statements from the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister has come even as West Bengal Chief Minister and key UPA ally Mamata Banerjee has kept the Congress guessing on support to frontrunner Pranab Mukherjee.
Meanwhile, Mamata's Finance Minister Amit Mitra met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for a financial package for the state, leading to speculation of a quid pro quo.
Speaking to mediapersons about the presidential polls, Mitra said, "We are in deep discussions over this. We will let you know as and when we reach a consensus."
In a related development, the West Bengal unit of the Congress appealed to the Trinamool Congress to back Pranab during the presidential poll.
"I appeal to the ruling party, our major coalition partner and supremo of TMC, that please come forward and extend your support palpably for Sri Pranab Mukherjee," said West Bengal minister Manas Bhuniya.
Later, when asked if Mamata was making an attempt to negotiate the Bengal package over the presidential poll, the Congress dismissed any such happening.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, "If a state is seemingly in financial distress and it does articulate its financial concerns, reaches out to the central government, wants certain concessions to be given, that essentially is not a Quid Pro Quo for supporting or not supporting a particular political initiative or an election which may be coming up."