Bangalore: All eyes were on the New Delhi residence of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh on Wednesday evening where the host was meeting Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee over the probable presidential candidate of the UPA for the Jul 19 election.
Banerjee, who reached New Delhi on Tuesday night, had met Mulayam Singh before going to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath Road residence on Wednesday morning. Banerjee said before the media persons after meeting Sonia Gandhi that the Congress has projected the names of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari, as its candidates, in that order of preference. The TMC chief said she was yet to make any final decision on the matter and would meet the SP chief for the second time. In that case, Mulayam's nod would be crucial before the final call to be made. Banerjee would also meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue later on Wednesday.
"Mamata Banerjee had come to see me on Tuesday. However, I will not disclose whatever we had discussed," said Yadav. Sources in the SP said the party leadership was inclined to support Mukherjee for the next President.
However, the West Bengal Chief Minister said there was no truth in the reports saying her party was making a deal with the Centre by promising support for its presidential candidate in lieu of a special financial package to bail out her state from the current mess.
While one section was claiming Mukherjee was a stronger preference, Ansari's emergence as the final candidate can not be ruled out either. Janta dal (United) led by Nitish Kumar has backed Ansari as the presidential candidate.
On the Trinamool Congress's idea of projecting former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi as the presidential candidate, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi said he was not aware about any such development.