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Left rejects UNPA plea to back Kalam

The Third Front proposal to back the President for 2nd term is rejected, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2007 21:03 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The Left on Thursday expectedly rejected the Third Front's (now known as the United National Progressive Alliance) appeal to build up a consensus around President APJ Abdul Kalam's second term for the top executive post.

A group of UNPA leaders led by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu made futile visits to the CPI (M) and CPI headquarters on Thursday morning. At both places, they were rebuffed by Left leaders who said that there was no question of supporting Kalam as the UPA-Left had already put up Pratibha Patil as their candidate.

At the CPI (M) headquarters, UNPA leaders met party general secretary, Prakash Karat, and politburo member Sitaram Yechury. Yechury later said that during the discussion with UNPA leaders, they were told that the UPA and Left have publicly announced Patil's name and the process for filing her nomination have also started. It is too late to withdraw, the CPI (M) leaders told the UNPA.

"We were against Kalam even in 2002 and had fielded Captain Lakshmi Sehgal against him. Also, there might not be a rule but there is a norm that no President would go for a second term. When (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee had met him, Kalam said he would not stand without consensus. The change (of stance) is surprising," Yechury said.

Next, the UNPA leaders met CPI general secretary, AB Bardhan, and got a response on similar lines. Bardhan said that the UPA and Left agreed upon the candidature of Patil and under current political circumstances it was not possible to reconsider the decision.

"She (Patil) is our candidate. We will work towards her victory," Bardhan told the UNPA.