Former President APJ Abdul Kalam is highly unlikely to contest against finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Kalam had already indicated a day earlier that he wouldn't enter the fray unless he was assured of support by Mulayam Singh Yadav, along with the NDA, and of course, Mamata Banerjee who has kept backing him. So, with Mulayam parting ways with Mamata on his candidature, Kalam was likely to stick to his view that he won't enter the race, BJP sources said.
When the NDA met at LK Advani's residence on Friday, his candidature was discussed, but no decision was taken as party leaders awaited the official announcement of the UPA's candidate.
Even before UPA chief Sonia Gandhi announced Mukherjee's name, Kalam did not sound too eager. In Patna he said: "Many leaders have contacted and want me to become President of India… I will take proper decision at the right time."
On Tuesday, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar did host a lunch for Kalam, who was visiting Patna. But sources said they did not discuss the presidential election. With not much enthusiasm in the JD(U), Kumar also sought to downplay the luncheon with Kalam, calling it a "courtesy meeting."
(With inputs from Ashok Kumar Mishra, Patna)