Samajwadi Party Wants A Politician As President, Say Sources

The three-member team formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has spoken to various opposition leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury

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Samajwadi Party Wants A Politician As President, Say Sources

Venkaiah Naidu today held discussions with Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav.

New Delhi:  With only weeks to go before a new President replaces Pranab Mukherjee, the BJP pressed ahead with its outreach efforts to allies and opposition.

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today held discussions with Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav and Naresh Agarwal and ally Ramvilas Paswan.  Union minister Arun Jaitley has spoken to the Trinamool Congress and the senior leaders of Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal. Sources in the TMC said the party will make its views known after the BJP names its candidate.

The Samajwadi Party leaders have shown preference for a politician as President, sources said. Mr Paswan, the chief of Lok Janashakti Party said his party stands by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision - something BJP ally Shiv Sena said it is against.

Sources said party chief Uddhav Thackeray has turned down BJP president Amit Shah's proposal that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be given the sole authority to pick the candidate. The party, Sena sources said, was "not agreeable" to it.

Since Friday, the three-member team picked by PM Modi and Mr Shah - comprising Mr Jaitley, Mr Naidu and home minister Rajnath Singh - had held a series of meetings with various opposition leaders, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and CPM leader Sitaram Yechury.

The opposition has complained that the BJP has come without any names and the Congress said the government was seeking cooperation, not consensus. Mr Shah had dismissed the claims, saying had any name been cited, the opposition would have complained that the government has already made up its mind.

"We went to seek their suggestions. Now if you don't want to give (a suggestion), then we will go to them after taking a decision," the BJP president told reporters in Mumbai on Saturday.

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