Lawmakers give mixed responses on next presidential candidate

   Apr 23, 4:13 pm

New Delhi, Apr 23 (ANI): Leaders of various political outfits on Monday gave a mixed response to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's suggestion that the president of the country should be a non-political person, saying a final decision on the issue would be taken only after consultations.

Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav said it is not the correct time to comment on the presidential candidate, and added that his party would react only after taking the views of the allies.

"He (Sharad Pawar) has given a suggestion. There have been no talks on this within our party or the NDA. It is suggestion. So, it is not the right time to comment on it. There will be a variety of discussions. It is a big election. We will take this issue forward only after discussions and views of the allies," said Yadav.

"Now, it is his (Sharad Pawar's) suggestion. We can't react on every issue. There have been no discussions on this. So, it would not be correct to comment on this for now," he added, when asked that the Samajwadi Party has put its weight behind former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdula Kalam for the top post.

Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury said there has been a lot of interest in speculation on the presidential election.

He, however, said nothing in this regard was formal till now.

"Nothing has come to us formally so far. There is naturally a lot of interest in speculation on the presidential election. It happens every five years beginning in the month of April-May and goes on till the elections," said Yechury.

So, it is a good reflection of the vibrancy of our democracy. We want that a president should be the one with full consensus," he added.

Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Shahid Siddiqui earlier in the day welcomed Pawar's suggestion that the president of the country should be a non-political person, and said his party would definitely back Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam if there is a consensus on his name.

Siddiqui said the president of India should be above politics and parties, and should be the one who represents the nation as a whole.

Pawar, an ally of the ruling UPA Government, had earlier on Sunday said he wants a non-political person to become the next president of India.

Abdul Kalam served as the 11th President of India, succeeding K. R. Narayanan. He served from July 25, 2002 to July 24, 2007.

The Samajwadi Party has begun exploring the chances of putting together a non-Congress, non-BJP coalition in the run-up to the presidential election due in June this year, and Kiranmay Nanda's meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee was a step ahead in this direction.

The names of Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee are doing the rounds as nominees for the top post, which falls vacant on July 24 when Pratibha Devisingh Patil's term ends. (ANI)

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