The man who many want as the next President of India, and another who will play a very big role in deciding whether that's possible, lunched together in Patna today. Over a vegetarian spread that included lemon rice, beans, sambhar and okhra, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar hosted Dr APJ Kalam, who is visiting Bihar to address a programme at the SK Memorial Hall.
In far-away Delhi, Mamata Banerjee declared that Dr Kalam, who has served as president from 2002 to 2007, will win this round as well. Ms Banerjee in fact sent her "advance congratulations" to the nuclear scientist. Except he says he hasn't made up his mind yet about whether he will run for president.
What he and his host are waiting for is the math. Mr Kumar and his party, the JD(U) belong to the NDA, a coalition led by the BJP. They have been toying with the idea of supporting Mr Kalam. But first, they want to see how the numbers stack up. That depends largely on Mulayam Singh Yadav. In Delhi, the UPA is meeting this evening and is expected to declare Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee as its candidate. Without Ms Banerjee, who has rejected Mr Mukherjee, the UPA has about 38% of the vote. If Mr Yadav chips in, Mr Mukherjee is set to be President.
And the NDA, then, may not bother with trying to put up its own candidate. Mr Kalam has also reportedly conveyed that he will not contest the election if there's a chance that he could lose.
But at his lunch with Mr Kumar today, there was little chance of any real political negotiation. The chief minister was accompanied by a series of officials, which meant that no confidential talks were conducted.