New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) The Congress Thursday criticised Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for suggesting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's name for the presidency, saying it did not behove of an ally to do so and was "unacceptable."
"Manmohan Singh is the prime minister of the country...it is a constitutional post...how could she (Banerjee) suggest his name for the presidential poll?" Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said.
"It did not behove of her," she said.
"..Never has there been any instance where a sitting prime minister's name is being bandied about like that. He is the head of the government of India. In fact, the people of our country would wonder why such tactics are being adopted by political parties," she told reporters.
"It was important to include Banerjee in all our discussions and she proposed the two names that emerged from their discussion. But later she holds a press conference with other leaders and brings in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's name in between. That is not acceptable to anybody! This has never happened before!," she added.
"He (Singh) is the prime minister and will continue (as one)," she added.
On Wednesday, both Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav virtually rejected the likely Congress candidates for the high office - Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari. They instead suggested the names of Manmohan Singh, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
Soni said Congress president Sonia Gandhi has been holding consultations with allies and supporters to arrive at a consensus on the UPA's presidential nominee.
"It has got nothing to do with the way UPA is handling because Mrs (Sonia) Gandhi is continuing her discussions. Today the whole morning, she met several leaders from both the Congress party and alliance partners and she is going ahead. She is trying to evolve a consensus," she said.
"The consultations are an ongoing process. When she (Gandhi) has been empowered by the entire UPA alliance, then she has to discuss - whether it takes two rounds or three rounds or as long as she thinks it is necessary. She will discuss as long as she feels it is important and necessary to have a single name with the maximum support emerge as our candidate for the Rashtrapati," Soni added.
"I cannot comment on it," Soni said when asked whether Pranab Mukherjee would be the final choice of the party.