FARM SCIENTIST SWAMINATHAN IS SENA’S PICK FOR PRESIDENT

NEW DELHI: The government on Friday found little support as it started consultations with opposition parties for a possible consensus on the next President even as its ally Shiv Sena proposed agriculture scientist MS Swaminathan for the country’s top job.

Opposition leaders said the government’s move was “more like a PR exercise” as it did not reveal the names of its potential candidates.

The successor of President Pranab Mukherjee will be elected on July 17 through a complex voting pattern involving parliamentarians and state legislators.

Two Union ministers, Venkaiah Naidu and Rajnath Singh, met several opposition leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, to seek their “views and suggestions”.

The BJP leaders reminded the Congress of the 2007 presidential polls when the UPA government propped up Pratibha Patil without consulting the NDA, which was then in the opposition. They also referred to media reports of “unfortunate allegations” against Patil’s husband.

Naidu and Singh also mentioned the 2002 polls, when APJ Abdul Kalam became the consensus choice of both the NDA and the Congress.

 

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