New Delhi: Strong reservations from key ally JD-U over pitting a candidate against UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday forced the NDA to defer its decision on the Presidential election.
At a two-hour inconclusive meeting of the NDA, JD-U is believed to have disfavoured a fight against Mukherjee because of his stature but BJP is said to have been keen on backing former Speaker P A Sangma, who has been propped up by BJD and AIADMK with an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
After the meeting at BJP leader L K Advani’s residence, from which BJP’s oldest ideological ally Shiv Sena kept away, NDA convener Sharad Yadav merely said more discussions were needed to arrive at a right decision.
“The NDA meeting took place today. Various leaders put forth their views in detail. More discussions are required in this regard to arrive at the right decision. L K Advani will talk to Chief Ministers of NDA-ruled states and all others. NDA will meet sometime later again to take a decision in this regard. Those outside (Delhi) will also be consulted,” Yadav told reporters after the meeting.
JD-U, which shares power with BJP in Bihar, was clear that there is no strong purpose served by contesting against Mukherjee, a tall leader with vast experience in government and Parliament, and more so when the UPA has a clear edge in the electoral college.
However, BJP leaders including Advani and Sushma Swaraj are understood to have argued that Mukherjee should not go uncontested, especially in view of the Lok Sabha polls due two years hence. BJP is said to be keen on supporting Sangma so that the alliance could rope in parties like BJD and AIADMK that could be valuable in the next Lok Sabha elections.