Sharad Yadav meets SAD leaders on presidential polls issue
Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav today met Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders, including Naresh Gujral, and said after the meeting that the NDA will take a collective decision on the issue of presidential polls after its meeting on Sunday.chandigarh Updated: Jun 16, 2012 23:06 IST
Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav met Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders, including Naresh Gujral, on Saturday and said after the meeting that the NDA will take a collective decision on the issue of presidential polls after its meeting on Sunday.
Slamming attempts to drag APJ Abdul Kalam's name in the presidential race, Gujral said it amounted to "demeaning and trivialising" Kalam as he has not given his consent for the same.
"Why do you take Kalam's name again and again, when he never said he will contest. We actually trivialise and demean Kalam when we drag his name again and again," he said.
Asked whether Akali Dal will support Kalam's candidature, actively pursued by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, the SAD leader said his party would respond to such questions only after Kalam said he would contest.
Though sources said that SAD was keen on NDA projecting Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal as a candidate for the post of Vice-President in a quid pro quo, Gujaral denied any such plan.
"Badal is happy where he is placed. He is in Punjab and he is happy. We are not into a position to advance his name (for Vice-President). Will we bring insult on us by doing it when we do not have the numbers?" Gujral said.
At the same time, he said the UPA has never attempted to "accommodate" the Opposition and build consensus on the issue of President.
Meanwhile, a consensus in favour of Pranab Mukherjee's presidential candidature seems to be growing within the NDA with a section of the opposition alliance saying a contest at this stage would only bring embarrassment to it.
Sources in JD-U, a key ally of the BJP-led coalition, said the party would favour a consensus around Mukherjee and felt that a contest should be avoided as it could be embarrassing as neither Abdul Kalam has so far agreed to contest nor the NDA has the numbers.