Names of the Presidential candidates to be disclosed by BJP next week

Names of the Presidential candidates to be disclosed by BJP next week
The BJP is to convey to the opposition and other parties the name of its choice of presidential candidate in the final round of talks with them next week, its leaders said. This will be after the PM and BJP brass finalises their choice or choices-- on the basis of consultations that has been going on with other parties including the opposition parties.

With the Congress and Left leaders saying they are upset that the Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Nadu did not come with a list of names before them in their first interaction opposition leaders on Friday, the BJP leaders said, "they would be informed when the name or a set of names is finalised by us."

Just as the Congress, when it was in power, never went with any list of names to the opposition parties for approval, the BJP could not be expected to do so, according to a Union minister. Nevertheless, the party had undertaken an exercise to know the mind of the opposition leaders, he said.

The Union Ministers, including Arun Jaitley who will be talking to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, will be briefing Prime Minister Narendra Modi early next week before the top BJP leaders sit down for the final call.

After their meetings with Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, NCP leader Sharad and Left leaders, Rajnath, and Venkaiah had spoken to BJP president Amit Shah.

At Friday's interaction, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi did not mince words in conveying to the two Union Ministers that she did not understand how the government could hope for a consensus without specific names.

To which, however, Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh too said that the then government led by the Congress too didn’t consult the Opposition or make efforts for consensus but went ahead to announce the candidature of Pratibha Patil in 2007.

Similarly, they said, the Congress had finalised the name of Pranab Mukherjee in 2012 as UPA's candidature after talking to its allies and not with the opposition. "The Congress elected Presidents of its choice when it was in power. The government of the day has always taken the decision," they said.

In contrast, Rajnath and Venkaiah apparently told the Congress chief and other leaders that the Vajpayee government had sought consensus on the candidature of A P J Abdul Kalam whose name was first proposed by Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and later supported by NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Venkaiah said the Congress had serious reservations and didn't extend its support even after Kalam was formally named by the government. Later, the Congress filed one set of nomination papers for him, signed by Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh with 60 other proposers.

In 2007, Sonia Gandhi proposed the name of the then Rajasthan Governor Pratibha Patil, which was seconded by CPI leader A B Bardhan seconded it. No Opposition party was taken into confidence before finalising the name, according to the Union ministers.

In response, the Congress leaders said there was no point in holding talks with them without disclosing the name of its choice for presidential candidate. On the other hand, Venkaiah and Rajnath said their exercise was a "sincere" attempt to know the views of the opposition leaders.

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