Congress today began the consultation process with its allies on the issue of next President with party chief Sonia Gandhi holding deliberations with NCP chief Sharad Pawar on the issue.
Sources said that the Congress leadership will also be consulting DMK chief M Karunanidhi on the issue any time next week.
A senior Congress functionary, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that consulations on the issue were a natural course of action to decide a name for the country's top job. Obviously the allies will be the first to be consulted, he said.
The meeting between Pawar and Gandhi lasted half-an-hour. "We want a name with consensus," NCP General Secretary D P Tripathi said when asked about NCP's preference for the next President.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of NCP's extended working committee meeting here, Tripathi, at the same time, said that there was no discussion on the name of Presidential candidate in today's meeting.
"The President's post is the top post in the country. It is necessary to maintain its dignity," he said.
Key UPA ally Trinamool Congress today maintained that it would decide on a Presidential nominee only after the date for the election to the top post is announced. Railway Minister Mukul Roy said it would be too premature to decide on a candidate now.
TMC's support is crucial for the victory of a UPA candidate. The President's election is due in July but the date is yet to be announced.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad had come out yesterday in support of Vice President Hamid Ansari as the Presidential candiate but Samajwadi Party and principal opposition BJP have not made their stand clear yet on the issue.