New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) The JD-U chose to break ranks with the BJP-led NDA to support a "sensible person" like Pranab Mukherjee, who was the UPA's candidate, as the opposition alliance did not gain politically by fielding Bhairon Singh Shekhawat against Congress candidate Pratibha Patil in the 2007 presidential election, NDA convenor Sharad Yadav has said.
"The 2007 presidential contest was a loss to NDA...we did not gain politically from it," Janata Dal-United chief Yadav told IANS in an exclusive interview.
After the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had fielded Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart Shekhawat as its candidate, lesser-known Pratibha Patil, the UPA nominee, won the 2007 contest and created history by becoming the first woman president of the country.
Stating the JD-U's decision to support United Progressive Alliance's nominee Mukherjee in 2012 was taken keeping in mind the 2007 result, Yadav denied there is any division in the alliance over the presidential poll.
"There is no division in the NDA...we decided to support Mukherjee as we did not want a contest for the constitutional post," said Yadav.
"We just nicely agreed to disagree with the BJP," he quipped.
However, he refused to comment on the recent rift between senior JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and BJP leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi over who should be NDA's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general elections.
Yadav, who represents Bihar's Madhepura constituency in the Lok Sabha, said his party's support to Mukherjee is due to the "complex" political realities in the country.
"India is a big and diverse country...there are many contradictions in politics," he said.
Yadav clarified that the entire NDA would have supported former president A.P.J Abdul Kalam for a second term had the former president not backed out of the 2012 presidential race.
"The NDA would have supported Kalam but he backed out," said Yadav.
Observing the 2014 Lok Sabha polls are likely to throw up a big challenge before the country, he said the need of a "sensible person" like Mukherjee will be felt strongly in the Rashtrapati Bhavan then.
"The 2014 general elections will throw up a big challenge...a sensible person like Mukherjee would then be needed as president," said Yadav.
But he said it was too early to comment on a possible grouping of the regional parties at the centre.
Stating the finance minister's shift to the Raisina Hill was certain against BJP's presidential nominee P.A. Sangma, Yadav said it would be more a victory of Mukherjee and less of the UPA.
"Pranab is winning, not the UPA," said Yadav, adding he will continue to oppose the Congress.
(Amit Agnihotri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)