UPA for Ansari again, TMC yet to decide
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Not throwing up any surprises, the UPA today renominated Vice-President Hamid Ansari for a second term, announcing the same after a meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Ally Trinamool Congress again struck a discordant note, with Mukul Roy proposing Gopal Krishna Gandhi and Krishna Bose as candidates, though clarifying that they had not rejected Ansari yet. In a surprise move, the NCP skipped the talks.
Just before the meeting, the PM spoke to BJP leaders
L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj to seek support for Ansari. Swaraj, sources said, turned him down and indicated that the party would be fielding a candidate. Singh called up JD(U) president Sharad Yadav separately. While the JD(U) is supporting the UPA on the presidential election, it has not extended similar support for Ansari.
The PM also spoke to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati, who said they supported Ansari. CPM general secretary Prakash Karat told the PM that the Left parties would get back on Monday. Indications are that they too will back Ansari.
While the PM also called up Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool sources said she told him they would decide in a couple of days. TMC leaders in Kolkata said the party may now have no choice but to abstain. According to sources, till the end, there was talk within the TMC that should the Congress agree to its choice of V-P candidate, the TMC could back Pranab Mukherjee for president.