Andalib Akhter / New Delhi
Even as the ruling NDA and the opposition are keeping name of their presidential candidates as closely guarded secret, several names are doing round rounds in newspapers, television channels and social media.
All are speculating name for the presidential nominee to succeed President Pranab Mukherjee with their own contention and arguments.
The name doing rounds include Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murm, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, former deputy Prime Minister L.K.Advani, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, former HRD Minister and another member of Margdarshak Mandal Murli Manohar Joshi, Metro man, E.Sreedharan, Infosys founder Narayana Murthy, former West Bengal Governor Gopal Gandhi, eminent jurist Fali S Nariman and bollwood star Amitabh Bachchan, Rajya Sabha MP Narendra Jadhav and even a second term for Pranab Mukherjee.
Still there is a view that some dark horse might emerge as strong candidate for the presidential post.
Senior BJP leaders and Union ministers Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu met at Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence for talks to reach a consensus on a presidential candidate, polling for which is scheduled to take place on 17 July. The meeting was part of BJP’s outreach to stitch a consensus on the official nominee.
Soon after the meeting senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad informed that the BJP did not come forth with any names. Azad said that the BJP requested cooperation on the presidential elections, however, the leaders did not discuss any names. “First they need to give us a name, then there will be consensus,” he pointed out.
“BJP ministers did not give us any name, instead asked us for a name. We were expecting them to suggest a name. Then we would have discussed that within our own party and with other opposition parties,” he said.
“Since there was no name suggested from the government, there is no question of cooperation or discussion,” said Azad.
“They are seeking cooperation and what I can make, they have got something in their mind, that is why they have not given any name and are seeking cooperation. But unless they give a name there can’t be any question of consensus or cooperation,” Kharge observed.
The BJP also reached out to other Opposition parties as well to discuss the presidential candidate. Later Singh and Naidu met CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury too.
Naidu on Thursday spoke to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who is part of the opposition bloc, and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu, a BJP ally, over the presidential poll.
While Chandrababu said he would support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call on the presidential nominee, Pawar offered no assurance and said he would be in New Delhi in a few days for further talks on the matter. The three-member BJP committee has so far reached out to Congress, Bahjan Samaj Party, NCP, TDP, CPM.
A group of nine opposition parties, including the Congress, the Left and the NCP besides the likes of the SP, BSP, JD(U) and RJD, has maintained that they will finalise their stand only after the BJP-led NDA discloses its candidate.
Naidu has already spoken with NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who is also chief of ally TDP, PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss and N. Rangaswamy of the All India Congress (NR) and sought their cooperation.