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Prez race: JD-U advocates cautious approach

New Delhi: NDA constitutent JD(U) today advocated a cautious approach for the Opposition alliance on Presidential election downplaying former President APJ Abdul Kalam`s visit to Patna, saying no politics should be read into it.

Sources in JD(U) also dismissed reports that Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had a talk with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the issue, saying "no talk happened between Nitish and Mamata".

Asked about the warm reception extended to Kalam by Nitish Kumar in Patna, JD(U) President Sharad Yadav said the former President`s visit was pre-planned and "there is no need to look at it from any political prism. No talk on the issue of President happened between them (Kalam and Nitish)."

There is a view in the party that given their past, any stand by Trinamool Congress or Samajwadi Party cannot be taken as their final one and, hence, NDA "should not get into this mess" till a clear picture emerges.

A party leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that a "too calculated" Kalam is unlikely to agree to contest under the current scenario.

The leader also felt that UPA`s nominee will have a smooth sail in the Presidential election as a number of parties could be ready to bail out their candidate even if some ally walks out of the alliance.

"No decision is also a decision. A decision has not taken right now so that a decision can be taken at an opportune time. The message of the NDA meeting today was wait and watch and allow a clear picture to emerge," Yadav said when asked about the outcome of the NDA meeting.

Yadav refused to answer questions whether NDA may agree to support Pranab Mukherjee as a Presidential candidate if there is an attempt by the ruling alliance to seek larger consensus in a quid pro quo for Vice Presidentship going to an Opposition nominee. "It is imaginary. Let them first take the initiative. Let them first come out with the name," the JD(U) chief said.

Yadav also said that his party will not be proposing the name of any candidate for the Presidential poll and maintained it will go with the collective choice on the issue. "So many names have already come up that no sensible man in politics would like to float any more names," he said.

He said that the NDA decision on the matter would be a collective one. Asked whether JD(U) has decided not to support Kalam`s candidature, Yadav said, "Why should you think so. When no decision has been taken why bring down someone`s stature".

He said that NDA will a form a view on the issue only after UPA decides its candidate as "in this atmosphere we do not consider it fit to take any decision". There had been indication from JD(U) earlier that the party finds "unusual" naming Kalam as a candidate. A party leader mantained that it was very unusual that a retired President was being named as a candidate.

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