NCP calls for consensus on choice

Amid suspense over the UPA’s presidential candidate, its key coalition partner, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), on Wednesday said that a consensus had to be evolved through a discussion with all the UPA constituents on the names suggested by Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party for the top constitutional post.

"In the light of new developments, we will have to talk to all concerned (in the UPA)  and try to bring a consensus on the Presidential choice," NCP chief Sharad Pawar said, following the TMC and SP announcing the names of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former president A P J Abdul Kalam and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee as candidates of their choice.

Earlier, in the day, Pawar said he did not know who was chosen as the presidential candidate of the UPA. "No name has been discussed with me yet. The PM will be out of station and only after he returns, any guess can be made," he said when asked if the name of presidential candidate had been discussed with him.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) declined to give its opinion on the three names suggested by the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, maintaining that it was not known if the TMC and SP suggested the three names on behalf of the UPA.

"I do not know, nobody has spoken to us and it is not as simple. Some names have been let out and they must be discussed. Let us wait. The Left parties will meet and assess the situation,” CPI National Secretary D Raja said.

Meanwhile, CPM also said that there should be a consensus candidate for the presidential poll. The party, however, kept its card close to chest, saying it will make its stand clear only after the UPA nominee is announced.

Congress has not taken any initiative so far to discuss either with the CPM or other Left parties on the presidential candidate, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.

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