On Monday, Bihar Chief Minister and a key NDA ally Nitish Kumar will finally break his silence in Patna and speak on the presidential elections, and his support for UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee.
Mr Kumar is likely to urge consensus to all the NDA constituents on the candidature of the UPA candidate. With sources saying that several top leaders of the BJP and some constituents of the NDA are now pressing to field their own candidate, citing no consultation by the UPA before it announced its candidate, Mr Kumar is likely to appeal to them to adopt a flexible approach on the issue and support Mr Mukherjee whom he holds in high regard.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr Mukherjee had both spoken to Mr Kumar personally on Friday, just after Mr Mukherjee was announced as the UPA candidate. Sources in the UPA say, that Mr Kumar in his conversation with both leaders was 'positive' and promised to speak to the partymen to evolve a consensus on this issue.
Earlier today, a meeting of the NDA failed to arrive at any decision amidst differences over whether to back the UPA candidate or field their own. The NDA lacks other worthy faces as its presidential candidate considering former president APJ Abdul Kalam has remained non-committal over him being a potential non-UPA candidate, especially after the much-hyped M&M (Mulayam and Mamta) alliance broke down within just 24 hours of its formation.
But sources close to Mr Kumar also conceded that their leader's call for consensus is not so easy to achieve as a section of the BJP, especially Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, will make sure that his party and other constituents of the NDA - with whom he enjoys a better rapport - not only shoot down the consensus call, but also come forward with an NDA candidate, just to test the patience of the Bihar Chief Minister on this issue.