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Congress ready for presidential contest

delhi Updated: Jun 21, 2012 20:16 IST

IANS
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The Congress on Wednesday said contest was part of democracy and hoped that United Progressive Alliance (UPA) nominee Pranab Mukherjee will be the next president.


The party said this soon after former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma quit his Nationalist Congress Party, a constituent of the Congress-led UPA, to fight against Mukherjee in the July 19 poll for the high office.

"Contest is part of democracy... Mukherjee is a capable person and we hope he will be the next president of the country," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi told reporters.

The Congress refused to comment on the rift within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on selecting its presidential nominee.

"It is an internal matter of the NDA... we will not comment on it," said Alvi.

He said it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's jurisdiction to decide on the fate of Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha Sangma, daughter of the former Lok Sabha speaker.

The Congress also refused to be dragged into the ongoing tussle within the NDA over its prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general election.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), an NDA constituent, had expressed reservations amid indications that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party could be the alliance's candidate for the top executive post in the next Lok Sabha poll.

Nitish Kumar, in a disguised attack on Modi, said that the NDA's prime ministerial choice should be secular and acceptable to everyone.

"The JD-U has to decide whether it has to stay in the NDA or not... the NDA will decide its candidate for the prime minister's post," Alvi told reporters.