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No decision yet on Prez candidate: Nitish

Patna: Amid division in NDA over opposing UPA Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he favoured a consensus on the issue of candidature for which efforts were on within the Opposition alliance.

Kumar, however, refrained from clearly spelling out whether his party, JD-U will support a contest against Mukherjee, saying it will not be approporiate for any constituent of the alliance to make public its separate viewpoint when discussion were on within the joint forum of NDA.

"There has been free and fair discussion (in the NDA meeting). We are in favour of consensus (on the President poll) but how will there be a consenus on the issue unless NDA itself comes up with a consensus. Efforts are on to build a consensus and, hence, consultations are continuing in NDA," he told reporters here.

"Talks are going on. More discussions will follow. A churning of views is going on in NDA. As long as a decision is not taken, it is not appropriate for the allies to give their viewpoints outside," he said when asked whether JD-U will support an NDA contest against Mukherjee`s candidature.

Noting that it is "well-known as to who has what numbers in the electoral college" for President`s election, Kumar said that NDA is discussing the issue taking into account all these facts.

Accepting that he has a "good relationship" with Mukherjee, Kumar said, "My relations with P A Sangma (who is also in the fray) is not bad. In politics, one shares good relations with all."

JD-U sources have said that the party is not in favour of NDA contesting against Mukherjee as the Opposition alliance does not have the numbers to ensure its nominee`s win.

The Bihar Chief Minister indicated that a decision by NDA on the issue might take few more days, saying, "There is still time. The last date for filing nomination is June 30 and reports have it that the UPA candidate will file nomination by June 25." He said that as long as NDA does not take a decision, allies announcing their opinions amounts to "one upmanship".

Asked for a categorical response on JD-U`s stand on Mukherjee, Kumar quipped, "There should be some space for guess work too."

He said that while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called him to seek support for Mukherjee`s candidature, the UPA nominee had not made a mention of this during his conversation with him. "Yes, I had talked to the Prime Minister. But can a way be found only by talking to me alone," he said.

Kumar said that he did not have any discussion in this regard with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

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