CPI-M asks Cong to build consensus on candidate

New Delhi: CPI(M) today asked the Congress to take the initiative in building a consensus on the candidate for the Presidential election though it indicated it was not averse to supporting either Vice President Hamid Ansari or Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for the post.

Party MP and politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the Left parties would discuss the Presidential Election issue at their meeting on Friday.

"Election of the President with consensus is in the country`s favour but if there is no consensus then elections will be held…It is the responsibility of the ruling party to evolve a consensus on the issue. They should take initiative and try to build consensus," he told reporters here.

Yechury noted that when A P J Abdul Kalam was fielded in 2002, the Left had nominated Lakshmi Shegal as there was no consensus.

To a question on Left`s stand on probable candidates like Ansari and Mukherjee, he said if the Congress has narrowed it down to two names, then Left would like to see on whose name there is consensus.

"That is the best approach. As far as Hamid Ansari is concerned, the Left had proposed his name for Vice Presidentship last time. As far as Pranab Mukherjee is concerned, the name was doing rounds last time also and we said we have no objection," he said.

"The point is not that where we stand, the point is on whose name there is consensus," Yechury said.