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BJP, JD-U not on same page over next president

Delhi,Politics, Tue, 01 May 2012 IANS

New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Differences in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the presidential candidate emerged Tuesday with the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) refusing to stand by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which the day before declared it supports neither Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee nor Vice President Hamid Ansari for the top post.


There had been no discussion on the presidential candidate in the BJP-led opposition alliance, JD-U leader and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav said.


"The view that Sushma-ji has expressed is their party's view. There has not been any discussion with us or in the NDA on the presidential candidates," Sharad Yadav told reporters.


BJP leader Sushma Swaraj Monday said her party would not support Mukherjee or any other Congress candidate. She also said the party would not back Ansari but was open to former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.


A day later, BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Tuesday said the party wanted a name on which all could agree.


"We want them to bring such a candidate on which all parties can arrive at consensus... but going by what the Congress did in the last presidential poll, when they converted it in a contest rather than electing a unanimous candidate, we have no expectation," Naqvi said here.


"If they try to bring some political figure, we will definitely not accept," he said.


The Samajwadi Party (SP), which is extending outside support to the Congress-led government, said Kalam was a good choice and pitched for a Muslim candidate.


SP leader Kamal Farooqui also suggested the names of Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Qureshi and former deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha K. Rahman Khan.


"My party is discussing name. We will come out with a name very soon... the non-NDA parties are in support of a Muslim candidate, and as BJP is for A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, they may also support if a good Muslim candidate is pitched," Farooqui told TV news channel Times Now.


"Kalam saab is a good candidate... but we have not agreed on any name so far, we are discussing it," he said.


President Pratibha Patil's term ends in the third week of July.


The UPA has over 40 percent of the total votes in the electoral college while the NDA has less than 30 percent. Neither grouping can elect a presidential candidate on its own electoral strength.


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