NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday named three people as their choice for India's next President: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi after her meeting with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee said that she supported what Mulayam Singh had proposed.
"The candidate has to be honest, a unanimous choice and respectable. One who works well. There are no priorities," the Trinamool Congress chief said.
"We considered names of APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee for Presidentship," said the Samajwadi Party leader at the press conference.
"We appeal to all parties to support Kalam, Manmohan Singh and Chatterjee," the two leaders said.
Earlier, before she met Mulayam, Mamata Banerjee had a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss who would be the United Progressive Alliance's choice for the nation's next President.After that meeting ended, Mamata revealed that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the Congress president's first choice for President, while Vice President Hamid Ansari is the second choice.
Interestingly, the names of neither Pranab Mukherjee nor Hamid Ansari, who are the Congress candidates, have been proposed by Mulayam or Mamata.
Banerjee, who met Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence, put forward her list of favourites for the job soon after her meeting with Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Observers of the Indian political arena find the choice of Manmohan Singh as a probable presidential candidate quite interesting. They say that this indicates that the UPA's allies are probably losing faith in Manmohan Singh as the prime minister.
The presidential elections will be held on July 19. The last date for filing nominations for the post is June 30.