: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to file his nomination for the presidential election on June 28-four days after he plans to resign from the union cabinet. The last date for filing nominations is June 30.
Sources close to Mukherjee claimed he needs time to hold a few more rounds of talks with select political leaders before filing his nomination papers. Another section, however, said he may have chosen an auspicious time to submit his nomination.
Meanwhile, the minister will preside over a meeting of Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on food and a GoM on telecom pricing on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
Mukherjee had decided to avoid meetings on major policy decisions but top sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh insisted that he hold these key meetings as time-bound decisions are required on the issues.
The minister will chair the EGoM meeting to decide on releasing additional quota of food grain for BPL and APL in the backdrop of surplus wheat production. The telecom GoM will decide on the minimum price at which spectrum must be allocated to various telecom players.
While he has cut down on his official engagements, the UPA's presidential candidate is reportedly spending more time in political talks with leaders across the parties. At least three BJP chief ministers and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had called up Mukherjee and appreciated his candidature. BJP MP Maneka Gandhi came to North Block to meet him and later described him as a 'mature' leader, hinting at support for him from a section of the saffron party.