Paswan to support UPA candidate for presidency

Last Updated: Thu, Jun 14, 2012 06:20 hrs

Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) chief Ramvilas Paswan has said his party would support any candidate backed by the ruling Congress party.

"We had earlier stated that we had a talk with Soniaji (Sonia Gandhi). We had talked everything and had told her whomsoever the UPA and the Congress brings forward, we shall support that candidate. Either it will be a candidate with total unanimity or else there will be a contest between the UPA and the NDA," Paswan told media here.

However, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has made its stand clear not to support any candidate with the backing of the Congress Party.

"Name does not matter to us. Anybody who enjoys the support of the Congress, or anybody who is a Congress candidate directly or indirectly, or that way merge to consultation, does not deserve our support," said CPI-M leader Gurudas Dasgupta.

"We are against the policies that the government is pursuing. The country has been brought to a chaos, economy is in doldrums, people are deep in misery, it is a non-performing corrupt government. Therefore as a matter of protest we cannot ourselves link with any person who moves into the election with the support of the Congress," he added.

Paswan and Dasgupta's comments came after Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and Trinamool Congress chief Banerjee together announced the names of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee as their preferred choices for the July 19 presidential poll.

The latest developments appear to be a major blow for the ruling Congress Party, as the two leaders have rejected the names of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari as figured during Mamata's talks with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Mamata, who met Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, remains non-committal over the UPA chairperson's suggestion, saying she would revert on the issue after discussing it with her Trinamool Congress colleagues.

Banerjee also said that she had told Gandhi that she would go back and discuss with her Trinamool Congress colleagues and revert on the issue.

Trinamool Congress, with 19 members in the Lok Sabha and is the largest constituent of UPA after the Congress. On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party, which has 22 members in the Lok Sabha, is an outside supporter of the ruling alliance.

A fresh round of consultations on the issue of selection of a presidential nominee is taking place in the UPA, after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) authorised Gandhi to decide on the candidates for the coming presidential and vice presidential elections. (ANI)

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