The rift within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the presidential candidate emerged clearly on Sunday, after they failed to arrive at a consensus on their candidate for the July 19 presidential polls.
"NDA will meet again to zero in on a presidential candidate," Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav told media here after the nearly-two-hour long meeting at BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani's residence.
Yadav said that Advani would be holding parleys with the NDA leaders once again on the issue.
Advani is expected to hold consultations with the chief ministers of NDA-ruled states to discuss the apt candidate for the presidential poll.
He further said that right now the focus of the NDA was on the presidential poll and not on the election for the post of vice president.
Leaders of the Shiv Sena were not present in the meeting that was held now.
Top BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar had met here earlier last night to decide on the party's stand on the presidential candidate.
Moreover, BJP MP Ram Jethmalani has expressed his eagerness to contest against Mukherjee. The noted criminal lawyer has told a leading news channel that he will not let the UPA nominee become the President unopposed for he has failed to disclose the names of those having black money stashed abroad.
The backing of former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma has also left the NDA in a tizzy, as it does not want to lose its ties with the allies. Sangma, who has so far been urging the leaders of various political outfits to back his candidature for the coveted post, has been campaigning on the ground that the country should have a tribal president.
"Our leaders such as Advani, Sushma and Gadkari talked to NDA leaders on telephone and talks are going on. We will take final decision after consulting everybody in the meeting that will be held tomorrow at 11 (a.m.)," BJP leader Ananth Kumar told media after the party's Core Group meeting here last evening.
The presidential elections will be held on July 19. The vote count will take place on July 22.
Pratibha Devisingh Patil's term as President ends on July 24.