New Delhi: The race for India's next President is hotting up and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is emerging as a key player in that decision. She is slated to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday on what many are seeing as a quid pro quo deal – a bailout package for her state in return for her vote in the presidential poll.
Meanwhile, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury, a Congress MP from West Bengal, is batting for Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as the next President of the country.
Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai about the veteran Congress leader, he said, "I had earlier stated that it would be the happiest moment for me to see Pranab Babu at the head of affairs... He is not only a national leader. He has already assumed an international dimension, he has already assumed the title of a statesman. So being a citizen of West Bengal, if we see that a man like Pranab Mukherjee is holding the position of the President, it will obviously be the happiest moment for the people of Bengal."
However, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has said that the government has not finalised a name as yet. On Thursday Mamata Banerjee met the Congress president as well, conveying to her that the Trinamool Congress was open to a consensus candidate.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is yet to come up with one fixed name for the President's post.
Senior leader Uma Bharti said, "Now everyone is giving his or her individual opinion but when we will come together to discuss this, then I am sure that we can make it easily."