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Mamata firm on Kalam's candidature, NDA indicates it will mobilise support for Kalam

Kolkata, Jun 15 (PTI): Shortly after Congress-led United Progressive Alliance announced Pranab Mukherjee as its Presidential candidate, an unfazed Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Friday said her party remained firm on the candidature of A P J Abdul Kalam.        

“We are firm on the candidature of Kalam. He is the fittest candidate. We are not shifting from our stand of what we have announced earlier,” Mamata said.        

“He is a man of high stature in India and most respected nationally and internationally,” she said.

On Samajwadi Party extending support to Pranab Mukherjee, Mamata said she had no communication from the party. “They did not talk to me. How do we know if there is no talk?”

Meanwhile the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance on Friday indicated that it would try to mobilise support of non-Congress parties for A P J Abdul Kalam, whose name has been floated by SP and Trinamul Congress.        

It appeared to rule out backing for P A Sangma, who has been propped up by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Biju Janata Dal, as the NDA choice for the Presidential election.        

After a 90-minute meeting with NDA partners, the coalition's Working Chairperson L K Advani said they did not meet to decide the candidate for President and Vice-President on Friday but to exchange notes on the recent developments on the issue and workout the future course of action.        

The CPM congratulated Pranab Mukherjee for being chosen as UPA's Presidential candidate but said it will decide on the issue of supporting him after consulting with other Left parties.