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Kalam avoids 2nd term issue, offers lunch!

President APJ Kalam wittingly made sure that scribes confine to questions regarding his address to the European Parliament.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2007 16:13 IST

Ask President APJ Abdul Kalam whether he will seek a second term and he offers you lunch to keep quiet!

Kalam, talking to reporters on board the special plane on which he returned from a state visit to Greece, faced many loaded questions from journalists on whether he would contest the presidential elections again.

"Please confine you questions to the European Parliament and Greece," said the 75-year-old Kalam with a smile, as anxious scribes tried every method possible to make him comment on the issue.

But Kalam only wanted questions on his address to the European Parliament, the first by any Indian leader, and his trip to Greece, a state visit that came after a gap of 12 years.

Questions on the nuclear issue, satellites and other matters were put to Kalam, but the scientist-President seemed to be aware just what the scribes were aiming at.

After Kalam gave details of issues discussed by him during meetings in the European Parliament, the reporters made one last effort to elicit a comment from him on contesting for a second term.

The witty Kalam had something better in store. "Air India has prepared a very good lunch (which is) ready for you and it's getting cold," he quipped as he walked to his chamber in the aircraft, leaving the media delegation dumbfounded.

While going to Strasbourg on April 24, Kalam had indicated that he was not averse to a second term in office but did not give a direct reply to questions on this issue.

"What I am saying is...That anyone coming to this post has to always keep the nation bigger than himself or herself ...For me the nation has always been bigger than myself and it will continue to remain so," he had then said.

Sources close to Kalam said he would like to continue if a political consensus on his candidature was arrived at.

"Economic development of the nation is the focus of my life. Whatever profession I am in, finally it should lead to that," he had said in reference to a question about various surveys and opinion polls favouring a second term for him.

Kalam, on his return journey, ducked a similar question about the aim of his life, saying he had no targets and would continue to contribute to making India a developed and happy nation wherever he was and whatever he was doing.

First Published: Apr 29, 2007 15:50 IST