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Sonia consults left parties on presidential polls

After PM's preliminary discussions with Left leaders last week, Congress president seeks to get the UPA allies on board on the issue, reports Saroj Nagi.
None | By Saroj Nagi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2007 05:13 PM IST

After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s preliminary discussions with Left leaders on the Presidential polls last week, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday sought to get the UPA allies on board on the issue.

She consulted CPI general secretary AB Bardhan and Forward Bloc leader Debabrata Biswas on the matter.

The two Left leaders were against a second term for President APJ Abdul Kalam or Vice President BS Shekhawat’s elevation points communicated by the CPM and CPI to the PM earlier.

``We want a political person in the post. It is an era of coalition and globalisation. A serious political statesman is required to handle the politically complex situation in the country and in the international arena,’’ said Biswas after his 20-minute meeting with Sonia. No names were mentioned by either leader.

The Forward Bloc leader conveyed to Sonia that the Left parties would meet on May 16 to take a joint decision relating to the Presidential polls would get back to her about it.

The Congress president is believed to have already spoken to UPA allies like RJD’s Lalu Yadav on the issue. A more detailed discussion is expected when all the UPA leaders gather in Chennai on Friday to congratulate Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for completing of 50 years in the Assembly.

By then, the picture would be a little clearer with the availability of the UP poll results which is expected to influence the complexion of the electoral college for choosing the next President and the choice of the candidate.

Earlier, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat had told the Congress leaders that his party would chalk out its plan of action on the presidential polls after the UP results. The party had told the PM that it favoured a consensual secular candidate for the post.

On his part, Lok Janshakti leader and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that all UPA partners would unitedly field a consensus candidate. ``All UPA allies have assured the government that they will remain united and whichever candidate is chosen will get their support," Paswan said in Kochi.

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