Race for next Prez gains momentum

Race for next Prez gains momentum

Pawar retracts his words on non-political candidate

Race for next Prez gains momentum

The process of finding a suitable candidate to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan appeared to have gained momentum on Monday with several parties expressing their opinion on the next head of the nation even as the government said it was working for a consensus on the issue.

National Congress (NCP) President Sharad Pawar sparked off a debate on Sunday by favouring a “non-political person” as president. However, he himself changed his tune within 24 hours as he insisted here that he only spoke of the need for “an agreed candidate.” The Samajwadi Party picked that up on Monday and seconded his opinion. 

Offering his clarification, the Union agriculture minister said neither the UPA nor the NDA have the numbers and therefore, a process of consultation was necessary.

“This time looking at the UPA and the NDA strength we need to have a high-level dialogue and take a decision. I am sure, concerned leadership will start the process. We need to think about agreed candidature at this moment,” he said.

The bid to arrive at a consensus in the light of no party or group having a majority to elect its candidate as president is likely to gain speed in the next few days with the resumption of budget session of Parliament from Tuesday. “This is a very big issue. No political party has majority. If a Presidential candidate has to be nominated it has to be done with cooperation and agreement of all,” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
“We have been working towards a consensus," said HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, who was flanked by Azad, Parliamentary Affairs P K Bansal and Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy at a press conference.

While BJP leader Arun Jaitley refused to comment on the issue, BJP’s NDA ally JD(U) too declined to join issue saying there has been no discussion either in his party or within the NDA about the Presidential elections. The UPA has also not initiated any moves, party president Sharad Yadav said.

Several contenders, says  Paswan

 Lok Janshakti Party chief Ramvilas Paswan on Monday said there were several contenders in the fray for the post of President after Pratibha Patil, reports PTI from Patna.