BJP, AIADMK to coordinate on presidential poll: Advani

Last Updated 14 June 2012, 12:05 IST

Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday decided to "coordinate efforts" on the issue of the July 19 presidential elections.

Addressing reporters after his near-30 minute meeting with Jayalalithaa at the state secretariat, Advani said they had "discussed at length" the possibilities on who would be the next president.

The two leaders, he said, had agreed that "it would be proper if we keep in touch with each other and coordinate our efforts". Advani said he had told Jayalalithaa that the National Democratic Alliance(NDA) would be meeting Friday to discuss the situation on the presidential elections till date.

He said that "it was not unlikely" that the constituents would say the Congress should first decide on its presidential candidate. According to Advani, there will be discussions with Jayalalithaa post the NDA meeting. Responding to a query, he said "all names figured" in the discussions with the AIADMK leader.

Queried about AIADMK announcing its support for former Lok Sabha speaker P.A.Sangma's candidature for the nation's top position, Advani said the AIADMK leader had telephoned him after the announcement.

He said Sangma had also met him two days back but did not elaborate further. He said the matter of Sangma's candidature was also discussed at themeeting with Jayalalithaa.

Criticising the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by the Congress, Advani said that he had never seen any government handling a presidential election as clumsily as this.

"The recent events in Delhi, these have made the situation very dicey. I have never seen any earlier government handling an important election like that of the president so clumsily. So far as we are concerned, we are conscious of the fact that Congress and the UPA government are not able to build a consensus on the president even in its own camp," Advani said.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said Wednesday that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari were the Congress' first and second choices for president. An hour later, after a meeting with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh, she put forth the names of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

On Thursday, an upset Congress said it could not afford to spare Manmohan Singh and also rejected Kalam and Chatterjee for the presidential poll.

Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Congress media department chief  Janardhan Dwivedi confirmed that the names of Mukherjee and Ansari as candidates for the high office emerged during the first round of discussion with the party's allies. More talks will follow, said party leaders.

"When the Congress decides, it will be one name," he added. According to Advani, there is no consensus between Congress and the UPA on a presidential candidate.
Meanwhile Jayalalithaa told reporters that the Congress has botched up the issue of the presidential elections.

Referring to the meeting with Advani she said that the two exchanged notes and did not want to indulge in speculation as no party has come out with a firm announcement.

Advani was in Chennai as a member of parliament's standing committee on home to review the safety aspects of organisations like Madras Atomic Power Station located at Kalpakkam, around 70 km from here, the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Chennai Port and Chennai Airport.

(Published 14 June 2012, 08:54 IST)

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