[sam id=”4″][sam_ad id=”” codes=”true”]

NEW DELHI, April 30 – Giving a new turn to the Presidential race, the Bharatiya Janata Party today ruled out supporting Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari or any other candidate who may be put up by the Congress Party but is open to supporting anyone chosen by the non-Congress parties.

“We will not accept any Congress candidate, including Pranab Mukherjee, for the President’s post,” BJP leader Sushma Swaraj she told reporters here today.

The names of Mukherjee and Ansari have been doing the round as being among the probables in the Presidential election.

Asked about Ansari, Swaraj said he does not have the stature to be President and hence BJP will not support him.

She also categorically said there will be no understanding with the Congress under which NDA would support UPA’s Presidential candidate and get their support in return for the vice-president’s post.

“We are looking at the 2014 elections and do not want to give the impression that we have any truck with the Congress,” Swaraj said.

She said BJP was gauging the mood of the UPA allies on the Presidential elections.

On whether a non-Congress candidate like A P J Abdul Kalam, Swaraj said the BJP is open to the idea.

“We can have an understanding with non-Congress parties where we support their Presidential candidate and they support our vice-presidential candidate,” she said.

“We will contest to win. We will work out an arithmetic,” she said.

Earlier, the Congress sought to distance itself from the speculation over the names of possible Presidential candidates, saying the formal process to choose the next President is yet to take off.

“The President of India is an extremely august office. This is not an office which should be brought into the realm of unnecessary speculation. While it is true that the term of the current President will be ending in July it is also a fact that formally the process to choose the next President has not kicked off,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari told reporters outside Parliament.

Congress leader and Defence Minister A K Antony had yesterday met DMK chief M. Karunanidhi as part of consultation process among UPA allies on the Presidential election.

Karunanidhi today said in Chennai, “We expect a good President. Antony proposed (some names) and so did I. But we cannot tell you the details.”

Source: Indian Express