Mamata, Mulayam snub Sonia’s choice for President; emergency UPA meet likely on June 23

he outright rejection of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Sonia Gandhi’s first choice for President, by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav has come as a bolt from the blue for the Congress.

Manmohan Singh
The Trinamool and the Samajwadi Party suggested PM Manmohan Singh’s name for the President’s post.

The dramatic move has deeply embarrassed not only the Congress president, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mukherjee too. Sources said a UPA meeting is likely to be held around June 23 to discuss the emerging situation.Who should be the next president of India? Vote here

Mamata had a meeting with Yadav on Tuesday, giving rise to speculation that the duo had already discussed the names of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

Many Congress leaders were clueless and were caught unawares by the turn of events on Wednesday.

Later, the party’s spin doctors got into action and tried to give the announcement a twist. They put out the theory that the joint Mamata-Mulayam announcement had the tacit backing of the Congress.

According to them, none of the three will make it to Rashtrapati Bhavan and a surprise candidate may emerge before June 30, the last day of filing of nomination.

Another spin is that of the three choices, Manmohan Singh, is the only serious contender.

Kalam’s name was included only to pip another Muslim, vice president Hamid Ansari.

As for Chatterjee, his name was included to neutralise possible criticism that Mamata, a Bengali, scuttled the chances of fellow Bengali Mukherjee.

“So, the real Presidential candidate is Manmohan Singh,” said an analyst who claimed that many corporates don’t have faith in Singh’s leadership.

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