The government on Saturday clarified that it had no intention of hurting President APJ Kalam while describing as "unfortunate" his reported remarks that he was prepared to contest if there was certainty over his victory.
"My comment was not on the office of the President or the President but on the potential candidate," said Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi. He accused the Third Front and the NDA of dragging the presidential office into controversy by projecting his name when there is no convention of a sitting President being renominated for the top post after Rajendra Prasad.
Without mentioning Kalam by name, he said that his comments were in reaction to reports that a person who announced that he was not in the race and would return to academics suddenly after meeting a group of leaders said that he is interested in contesting if there is certainty of his victory.
Reacting to questions that the President was hurt by such comments, the Minister said, "Dr Kalam is a dignified President. The question should be asked to those who tried to persuade him to contest the polls when there is no convention of a sitting President being renominated since Rajendra Prasad’s time," he said.
Dasmunsi, along with Union Ministers Sharad Pawar and Lalu Yadav, had reacted strongly to Kalam’s reported move to enter the fray if a victory was certain. Lalu advised him to "retire gracefully" and Pawar urged him against turning player as the "match was over" for him.