UPA meet Friday may endorse Pranab for president
New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) After hectic parleys through the day, the Congress Thursday appeared set to get its United Progressive Alliance (UPA) allies to endorse the candidature of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as its presidential candidate.
The Congress' core committee meeting, chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi and held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's 7 Race Course Road residence here, virtually decided to back Mukherjee's candidature.
Clear indications in this regard was available after the meeting, with a senior leader noting that "no dark horse" was under consideration.
At least two senior Congress leaders noted that the announcement on the party's and the UPA's candidate for the president's post will be made Friday after the allies meet and discuss the issue.
The meeting is expected to take place in the morning at the prime minister's residence.
Gandhi had earlier in the day held one-on-one consultations with Mukherjee himself, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, and Home Minister P. Chidambaram, apart from allies such as Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and DMK's T.R. Baalu.
The Congress seems resigned to the fact that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who had rejected Mukherjee's candidature Wednesday after a meeting with Gandhi, would not be on board the UPA's decision to field the finance minister.
But the leaders were confident that even without the Trinamool, the government was in a position to get its nominee elected to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
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