Only noises, no choice yet for Prez poll

Only noises, no choice yet for Prez poll

Last date for filing nominations may be around June end and deadline for withdrawal July

Speculation about likely candidates for the Presidential election in July may have gained momentum, but the actual poll process will be set in motion only about two months from now as the Election Commission is unlikely to announce the notification before June 15.

The current informal negotiations are being held in the hope of finding a credible consensus candidate. However, if consensus eludes the parties and polls become necessary, the date of polling may be around July 20.

EC sources told Deccan Herald here on Tuesday that the last date for filing nominations may be around June end and the deadline for withdrawal will be around July 5. If election takes place, counting of votes will be held the next day. The new president, replacing incumbent Pratibha Patil, will have to assume office on July 25.

In Delhi, with the Parliament session resuming on Tuesday, some leaders freely expressed their opinion on who should be the next president: Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad Yadav pitched for Vice President Hamid Ansari, while Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said his party was yet to think of any candidate for the post.

Last week, Yadav’s emissary Kiranmoyi Nanda had met Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and held extensive discussions on the issue. SP leader Shahid Siddiqui said on Monday that his party had no reservations against renominating former president Abdul Kalam.

Terming Siddiqui’s suggestion his ‘personal opinion,’ Singh said: “We can’t say anything... No talks have be held till now, what is the hurry? There is a lot of time for the president election.” Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati maintained a similar line. “Let the candidate be decided first...only after that we can comment," she said. Singh was the  first to propose the name of Kalam for Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2002.

BJP cautious

Main Opposition BJP is keeping its cards close to its chest. A senior party leader told Deccan Herald that they would watch the Congress moves. “We prefer a non-Congress candidate. If that is not possible, at least a non-Soniaite,” he said indicating that the party would not accept anyone close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The leader added that informal talks with his party had begun.

However, no party is in a position to impose its candidate and get him/her elected. The Congress has about 30 per cent of votes and its coalition UPA 40 per cent. The BJP-led NDA has about 30 per cent of votes.

Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari and his party colleague and MP Satyavrat Chaturvedi said formal discussion on the presidential candidate had not yet started.
“We would like to have an appropriate and effective president. We would like to see a consensus built around a suitable candidate. Of course we will take our allies into confidence. As and when the necessity arises we shall explore other avenues,” Chaturvedi added.

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