Mamata justifies decision, says Kalam first choice for Prez
New Delhi, June 14 (ANI): As the war of words over the presidential candidate scales up dramatically, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam is the first choice for the coveted post.
Banerjee defended the names as proposed by her along with Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, saying it is not a local election and the names recommended are of the stature of becoming the President of India.
Further warning the Centre, Banerjee said that she has not threatened anyone and does not intend to topple the UPA Government.
Banerjee, however, said that if the UPA wants her to leave, she will.
"We want to be in the UPA. If they don't want us in the government, that choice is with the Congress," she said.
Mamata further said that she would not be attending the UPA meeting scheduled on Friday.
Both Mamata and Mulayam had on Wednesday evening announced the names of former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee as their preferred choices for the July 19 presidential poll.
The Congress Party earlier in the day ruled out sparing Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for the presidential race, as it rejected the three names proposed by the two allies, sending signals that it was not in a mood to bow before them.
"Manmohan Singh will stay prime minister till 2014. We cannot afford to spare Manmohan Singh," said Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi.
Dwivedi also said that the names of former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and former President APJ Abdul Kalam as proposed by Mamata and Mulayam were not acceptable to the Congress.
He further said that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari were the party's preferred choices and would continue to remain so.
Trinamool Congress, with 19 members in the Lok Sabha, is the largest constituent of UPA after the Congress. On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party, which has 22 members in the Lok Sabha, is an outside supporter of the ruling alliance.
A fresh round of consultations on the issue of selection of a presidential nominee is taking place in the UPA, after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) authorised UPA chairperson Gandhi to decide on the candidates for the coming presidential and vice presidential elections.
With key allies rejecting her choice for president, Gandhi was huddled in meetings with senior leaders and allies to zero in on a consensus candidate.
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil's term ends on July 24. (ANI)
Read More: Mamata Bannerjee | Kot Abdul Khaliq | Abdul Wahidganj | Chak Abdul Sattar | Ghela Somnath | Kalam | Somnath Borgaon | Karala Kalam | Congress Nagar | Somnath Prakala Bo | Congress Nagar Tso | Mahendra Banerjee Road | Chatterjee Hat | Sarat Chatterjee Rd. | West Congress Para Ndso | Banerjee Chak | Congress | Mamata Banerjee | Pranab Mukherjee | Manmohan Singh
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