While appealing to all parties to support APJ Abdul Kalam, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday said the former President will contest the presidential poll.
"Kalam will contest, I congratulate Kalamji in advance," Mamata said, adding that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is also backing Kalam's candidature.
She maintained there should be a consensus on Kalam and insisted that he is a candidate who holds the position and stature required for the top post.
"I call upon all political parties to support Kalam. There should not be any politics over the President's post," TMC chief said.
Unfazed by reports that Mulayam may have a rethink on their joint proposal to pit Kalam, Mamata said the former President is their presidential candidate. "It is wrong information. I can say only this. He (Kalam) is our (TMC-SP) candidate in the presidential election. There is no ego, no quarrel, no fight," she told reporters seeking to dismiss persistent reports that the SP was no longer keen on backing Kalam.
SP and TMC on Tuesday proposed Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee as their candidates. Yesterday, Mamata declared that Kalam was their candidate. There were media reports today that SP may be doing a rethinking on Kalam.
The media reports were further beefed up by some interesting comments made by SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav today that the word 'hamara' candidate used by Mamata yesterday for Kalam could mean both 'ours' and 'mine'.
Asked about Ram Gopal Yadav's comments, Mamata said, "Don't put Congress words into his mouth. Don't divide and rule. Hamara means 'dono ka candidate' (candidate of both). My Hindi may be bad, that may be the reason for confusion."
Before leaving for Kolkata without attending the UPA meeting here, Mamata said it was wrong to say that Mulayam Singh Yadav has gone back on their joint proposal.
Interestingly, Kiranmoy Nanda, SP leader from West Bengal told reporters after Mamata's briefing that "we stand by the decision taken by Mulayamji and Mamataji".
(With PTI inputs)