EVEN as Mamata Banerjee refused to open her cards on presidential polls,another UPA ally,the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP),has indicated it prefers Finance Minister Pranab Mukerjee to Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
Between the two,Mukherjee suits us very much, a senior NCP functionary said today. Officially though the party maintained that no names had been discussed with the Congress so far. Nobody has discussed the issue with me nor has any name been conveyed, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said. A lot of time is left. How can we react when officially these names were not conveyed to us?
The Trinamool Congress chief reiterated that they would make their position known after the Congress approaches them. Mamata said their options were all open. If there is anything to be discussed,they (Congress) will let us know.
Asked about the possibility of someone from West Bengal,she said in jest: In that case,I am the first candidate.
Even as the NCP itself talked of the broadest possible consensus,party leader P A Sangma introduced a new angle by seeking a tribal president.
Tribal leaders would meet in Delhi on May 9 over this,the former Lok Sabha speaker said. Ruling out own name though,Sangma added: I am not a candidate. We are trying to meet leaders of political parties to (get them to) agree in principle. Then we will decide the candidate.
Asked if this was the NCPs view,he said: This is the view of tribals of the country. We have written letters to Sonia Gandhi,BJP president Nitin Gadkari,Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Pawar… The tribal population is more than 100 million,but till today no tribal has become the president.