New Delhi, June 16 (IBNS): Two secret meetings between Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday and Thursday led to the announcement of Pranab Mukherjee as the Presidential poll candidate of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
The meetings were also enough for Mulayam Singh who actually had first proposed the name of Pranab Mukherjee to royally ditch Mamata Banerjee.
In an interview to Teekhi Baat on IBN7 channel, Mulayam said he was the one who first proposed the name of Pranab Mukherjee for the President's post a month ago during a meeting with Sonia Gandhi.
Mulayam Singh also divulged how he met Sonia Gandhi again evading the media battalions' eyes twice after naming on Wednesday three other names, including the one of Manmohan Singh, for the post of president.
Asked if he entered the house of Sonia Gandhi through the back door, Mulayam Singh laughed and said: "Whichever gate it is, we had a meeting."
"When I met Sonia on Thursday she said I was the one who proposed Pranab Mukherjee's name first," said Mulayam.
After appearing jointly with Mamata Banerjee and naming A P J Abdul Kalam, Manmohan Singh and Somnath Chatterjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday turned a volte face and announced his support for Mukherjee.
"We support Pranab Mukherjee. He is the most capable and eligible candidate," Yadav told reporters on Friday.
He said the names announced by his party and TMC on Wednesday were 'suggestions'.
The entire issue of selecting the candidate for the Presidential election dragged lots of controversies in the past few days as Mamata along with Mulayam on Wednesday named Manmohan 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.
Mamata repeatedly opposed the name of Mukherjee for the post.
However, political equations changed suddenly on Friday with Samajwadi Party deciding to back Mukherjee.
Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi announced Mukherjee's name as the UPA candidate for the Presidential poll after a crucial meeting on Friday.
The Presidential election will take place on July 19.