BJP's yes to Kalam, no to Pranab, Ansari as Prez
The BJP on Monday put APJ Abdul Kalam in the presidential race while ruling out support for a Congress candidate, including vice-president Hamid Ansari and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee. Vikas Pathak reports. A fight to the finish | Names float for Prez post | Kalam evades posersdelhi Updated: May 01, 2012 09:40 IST
Senior party leader Sushma Swaraj said the party would support a "suitable" opposition candidate like former president APJ Abdul Kalam to take on the Congress nominee.
If the Samajwadi Party were to propose Kalam's name — there were "feelers" to that, she said — the BJP would support him, the leader of Opposition said.
"We will support him if his name crops up. But it is up to him to decide whether… he would like to contest," she said.
Mukherjee, on his part, told reporters not to "indulge in any speculation". Party colleague Manish Tiwari said the process to choose the next president was yet to kick off.
President Pratibha Patil's term ends July 24.
Union minister Agatha Sangma pushed for her father and Nationalist Congress Party leader PA Sangma’s candidature, saying no tribal Christian had ever been president.
Swaraj ruled out a quid pro quo with the Congress, which has so far kept mum on the presidential race. “Striking a deal with the Congress does not fit into our big picture. We have to fight against them in 2014 (general elections),” she said.
Swaraj laid out stringent terms for a consensus candidate: a renowned apolitical person enjoying support across political spectrum. Asked if Ansari, not a Congressman but seen as the party’s potential choice for the post, could be one, Swaraj said he didn’t fit the bill.
The BJP would wait for a “good name” to emerge from the opposition or even a “disaffected” UPA ally.
“Some parties get unhappy with a BJP candidate. So we’re waiting for a good name to emerge,” she said.