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Speculation on second term for Kalam

Top NDA and BJP leaders, led by ex-Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, call on the President, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2006 01:53 IST

Top NDA and BJP leaders, led by former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, called on President APJ Abdul Kalam on Saturday.

The meeting itself would not have been unusual, had they not refrained from making any statements to mediapersons waiting outside Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Surprisingly, the party did not release any memorandum either, fuelling much speculation about the subject discussed with the President.

The BJP delegation, including NDA convenor George Fernandes, Leaders of Opposition LK Advani and Jaswant Singh, and party chief Rajnath Singh, arrived at the Rashtrapati Bhawan at 5.30 pm.

The leaders left after spending a few minutes with Kalam, without a word to the waiting mediapersons.

Adding to the mystery was the absence of any information from even the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Middle-level BJP leaders, including MPs, were told they would be informed about the meeting on Monday. Significantly, the BJP plans to move an adjournment motion in Parliament on the internal security situation that day.

Later, BJP President Rajnath Singh told HT that they had discussed the "deteriorating" internal security situation, and the government's failure to do anything about it, with Kalam.

Earlier, in the absence of any word, some NDA leaders said the delegation could have gone to Kalam to convey their concern over Home Minister Shivraj Patil's statement to the police chiefs that India's nuclear installations could come under terrorist strike following the Indo-US civil nuclear pact.

Speculation also veered between Vajpayee trying to persuade Kalam to reconsider his decision not to seek a second term and discussing the political situation in Uttar Pradesh.

Kalam is due to retire on July 18, 2007 and has indicated that he was keen to return to teaching and research. But an NDA functionary dismissed this, stating that "this certainly did not come up".

Some BJP functionaries said the top brass could have also discussed with Kalam the situation in Uttar Pradesh where Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has criticised Governor TV Rajeshwar.

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First Published: Nov 26, 2006 01:21 IST