Nitish Kumar hints at second term for President Pranab Mukherjee, wants NDA to initiate talks

Joining in the discussions over the election of the next President of India, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar indicated his support in favour of Pranab Mukherjee if he secures a second term as the President.

Kumar says, " It will be good if he (Pranab Mukherjee) becomes the President again, but it is for the ruling party to take initiative."

As President Pranab Mukherjee's term is drawing to a close, the presidential elections are scheduled to be held before 25 July 2017. Political bigwigs are seen to be in talks, deliberating over their "choice" to preside as the head of the nation.

The opposition's endeavour to pitch for a joint candidate for the presidential elections seeks to culminate in the coming few days as Congress president Sonia Gandhi anticipates meeting Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (DMK) working president MK Stalin.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said deliberations in this regard are underway "without any fear, favour or ego". "The widest spectrum of opposition is committed to ensuring the most credible and winning face to fight and win against the government NDA nominee. I can tell you with assurance that every possible effort in that direction is underway without fear or favour or restriction or ego, and all synergies of the wider opposition are being constructively polled for that endeavour and for that result," he told reporters.

"Sonia Gandhi is trying to build a consensus on the presidential election over the phone and even by meeting leaders of the opposition parties. But we are waiting for the BJP to announce their candidate. Let them first declare their candidate," JD(U) leader KC Tyagi told IANS.

When asked about the names of probable candidates doing the rounds, Tyagi said: "Gopalkrishna Gandhi is a good name, but no consensus has been reached on that. Meira Kumar is also a good name, Sharad Yadav is also a good name."

"No consultations have taken place formally on the names together. Till the BJP announces its candidate or till the election date is announced, all this is just preliminary talk," Tyagi added.

A senior Left leader told IANS that the united opposition will wait for the BJP to announce their candidate. He also said that they will announce the name at the end.

On the other end of the paradigm, the Shiv Sena, an ally of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra as well as at the Centre, had proposed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat's candidature from the National Democratic Alliance for the country's top constitutional post.

The Shiv Sena had said that the RSS headquarters has become the "second seat of power" in the country and it does not deem anybody fit for the president's post except RSS chief Bhagwat, as per reports.

Uddhav Thackeray, had earlier in April recommended Bhagwat for the post of President of India.

"Suggested Mohan Bhagwat's name, haven't discussed Sharad Pawar. Pawar is Modi's guru, can't say what's in one's heart," Thackeray said.

Congress on Friday made it clear that a united opposition is committed to win the presidential election by putting up a joint candidate against the NDA nominee and all synergies are being constructively pooled for that endeavour.

(With agency inputs)


Updated Date: May 15, 2017 20:57 PM

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