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AIADMK signals support for NDA’s presidential choice

LiveMint logoLiveMint 16-06-2017 Pretika Khanna

New Delhi: The odds of the opposition parties influencing the choice of the Presidential candidate weakened on Friday with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) too signalling its intent to back the government’s choice.

Soon after meeting union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu, senior AIADMK leader M Thambidurai told NDTV, “Both MGR and Amma had cordial reactions with the centre... PM Narendra Modi was a good friend of Amma. Amma always voted against Congress, so we will follow her footsteps and support the BJP candidate for the President.”

He was referring to late former chief ministers M.G. Ramachandran and J.Jayalalithaa.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti or TRS, the ruling party in Telengana, and the YSR Congress, the opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, have already pledged their support to the candidate to be chosen by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Support from these regional parties will tilt the balance in favour of the NDA, which on its own does not have the numbers.

The latest developments came on a day the government reached out to senior opposition leaders to generate consensus. Naidu, along with home minister Rajnath Singh, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday.

The effort, however, remained inconclusive as the opposition parties want the government to propose a list of names.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said he and Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress party leader in the Lok Sabha, were also present at Gandhi’s meeting with Naidu and Singh.

“We had hoped that the BJP would come with a name or options of names for the position on the basis of which we would hold consultations with the party and other opposition parties. That did not happen,” Azad said.

Yechury said the CPM wanted “a candidate with impeccable secular credentials.”

“We asked them if they have a proposed name but they said they had not zeroed in on anybody. They did not come forward with any names. We can only support on the basis of a candidate. They said they will hold consultations and come up with a name after three to four days. They are holding a public relations exercise,” he added.

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