June 19: After the UPA government's announcement of Pranab Mukherjee's name for President, former President and Trinamool Congress's candidate of choice, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam has refused to contest in the upcoming elections.
Kalam has reportedly said that his 'conscience' was not permitting him to contest the election for the titular post.He said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wanted him to contest for the titular post.
"I thank Mamata Banerjee for her faith in me," he said.
He further said, “You're aware of the developments in the run-up to the Presidential election. Though I have never aspired to serve another term or shown interest in contesting the election, madam Mamta Banerjee and other political parties wanted me to be their candidate.
"Many many citizens have also expressed the same wish. It only reflects their love and
affection for me and the aspiration of the people. I'm really overwhelmed by the support.
"This being their wish I respect it. I want to thank them for the trust they have in me. I've considered the totality of the matter and the present political situation and decided
not to contest the presidential election 2012.”
Mamta Banerjee on the other hand has expressed her disappointment on Kalam's withdrawal by saying that the current state of politics in India has become murky and values, public interest have been compromised through the use of money, power and scams.
She also said, “I gave voice to what millions of Indians want to see in a President...Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam is a proud and distinguished son of India who continues to inspire all Indians.”
Her choice of candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections has further worsened the TMC chief's ties with the present UPA government. She also has hasn't shown any support for the Bhartiya Janta Party led NDA government's decisions and has also refused to support former Lok Sabha speaker P. A. Sangma who recently appealed to her for support.
The NDA government also is in a fix over the choice of candidate. Sections of the NDA government, Shiv Sena, Nitish Kumar and Former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa have given their support for Pranab Mukherjee, however there is yet to be a formal annoucement from the BJP, on whether they agree with the UPA government's choice or intend to settle for a different nominee altogether.
A section of BJP although are in support of Pranab Mukherjee.
Senior BJP member, Maneka Gandhi has expressed her support for Pranab Mukherjee as President. She believes that the Union Finance Minister " is very kabil (capable) person.”
Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav too has shown his support and has agreed to back Pranab Mukherjee for President.
The term of office of the current President of India Shrimati Pratibha Patil is upto 24th July, 2012. Thus an election for a new President is due to be held before the 24th of July, 2012.