New Delhi, June 14 (IBNS): Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar met Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi on Thursday evening over the Presidential election.
According to Congress sources, Pawar told Sonia that his party will support United Progressive Alliance (UPA)'s candidate for the titular post.
Pawar met Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence at around 5pm.
Earlier the same day, Gandhi met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and other senior Congress leaders.
Gandhi, who has been authorised by her party to select the party’s nominee, met Mukherjee, who was tipped to have been the frontrunner but was left out last evening of a list of candidates whom Mamata Banerjee agreed to back.
The Congress chief also met other senior leaders of the party including Defence Minister A K Antony and Home Minister P Chidambaram ahead of a meeting of the Congress core committee, where a final call is likely to be taken.
Gandhi met the leaders a day after the party’s top ally left it in the lurch about selecting a nominee for the Presidential election next month.
On Wednesday evening, Mamata and Mulayam dropped a bombshell by naming Singh as one of their choices for the post of President.
They also pitched the names of former President A P J Abdul Kalam (a choice of the rival BJP) and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee as their choices for the titular post.
Political observers said the move is seen as Mamata's deep-rooted opposition to Mukherjee, who is the first choice of Congress, followed by Vice President Hamid Ansari for the Presidential seat.
The Congress on Thursday said Manmohan will remain the Prime Minister of India till 2014.
"We have said that Manmohan Singh will remain Prime Minister till 2014," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told media on Thursday.
"We cannot afford to spare Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister," he said.
Speaking on Kalam and Chatterjee, he said: "We (Congress) cannot accept the names of A P J Abdul Kalam and Somnath Chatterjee."