CPI-M rules out Chatterjee's candidacy for President
The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Saturday ruled out the possibility of nominating Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee as its candidate for the post of President.
"We should be realistic. No one is going to support a Marxist man to the post," a senior CPI-M politburo member said on condition of anonymity.
The leader's remarks came immediately after CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat at a press briefing left the media persons confused over the party's stance on the presidential elections due by July-end.
"As far as we are concerned, nobody is ruled in or ruled out... the Left parties have set out the criteria but not zeroed in on any name," he said.
At the press conference after a two-day meeting of the party politburo, Karat evaded a clear reply whether Chatterjee, a party MP, was in the race.
"I don't know. The Politburo has asked us (senior leaders) to explore all options. It depends on all parties to see who is the most suitable candidate," he said.
Party sources, however, clarified that the CPI-M did not see any possibility of Chatterjee becoming a candidate.
Karat, while answering a question, indicated that the party, which had once refused Communist veteran Jyoti Basu the post of prime minister, considered the post of president as one of those it should not take up - unless the party can "dominate" the government.
"All these posts (of president and prime minister) are connected. We cannot separate them," he said.
Karat also said his party had been in talks with parties within and outside the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on the possible candidates for the top post but said no decision was taken.
After a meeting of four Left parties last week, Karat had said they wanted a person who had a "political background and firm secular credentials" for the top post.
"The future president must be able to exercise judgement to maintain the balance between parliament, the executive and judiciary," the CPI-M politburo reiterated said in a statement on Saturday.