The BJP core group got wary of the candidature of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — along with that of former President Abdul Kalam and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee — floated by UPA-supporting parties Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party.
BJP leaders decided to wait for the Congress party’s first formal response and then call a NDA meeting.
Kalam was NDA’s choice for the president’s post in 2002. The NDA had also unsuccessfully pushed for his candidature for a second term in 2007. Sources said BJP leaders noted that Kalam had always maintained that he would enter the fray only if there was consensus.
Hence, they viewed the act of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mamata Banerjee proposing Singh’s name and that of Kalam as a “serious development”.
They did not think it was a scripted political drama, as some were making it out to be, which had the Congress’ concurrence to ease out the PM by elevating him to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Ananth Kumar, BJP general secretary, said, “The Congress should come out with its view first... We will discuss this in a meeting and then give our view.” In the electoral college with 10,98,882 vote value, the BJP-led NDA has only around 3.04 lakh votes. The Congress and its allies, including Trinamool Congress, constitute the UPA share of over 4.60 lakh votes.
The party’s core group, which met under the chairmanship of BJP president Nitin Gadkari, includes Sushma Swaraj, MM Joshi and Rajnath Singh. Senior leader LK Advani is visiting Kalpakkam atomic plant as part of a home ministry panel.