President Pranab, almost there
- Spot-fixing: Petition in SC seeks stay on IPL matches, seeks SIT probe
- India, China call for end to incursion issue, sign 8 deals to boost ties
- Sanjay Dutt spends restless nights as officials yet to decide on his jail
- Aarushi murder case: Rajesh Talwar claims he was asleep when killings took place
- Railgate: BJP protests against CBI DIG for shielding Pawan Bansal
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee appears set to be the next President with his candidature being announced today by the ruling UPA and endorsed swiftly by supporting parties SP and BSP. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's objection to his candidature was ignored, leaving her to take a call on her party's continuation in the ruling coalition at the Centre.
Shortly after the declaration of 77-year-old Mukherjee's nomination by chairperson Sonia Gandhi after a UPA meeting in the afternoon, the SP and BSP announced their support, taking the UPA's strength in the electoral college to 49 per cent, excluding the TMC vote share.
Even in the event of a contest, Mukherjee looks set to sail through with the Left parties, which have more votes than the TMC, unlikely to oppose his candidature.
The UPA leadership is now set to look for his replacements as Finance Minister and Leader of the Lok Sabha. While Home Minister P Chidambaram has the experience and proven ability to steer the course of the country's economy in such difficult times, many others including C Rangarajan, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Anand Sharma and Jairam Ramesh are said to be in the fray. The Prime Minister could keep the portfolio with himself until a replacement is decided. For the Leader of the House, P Chidambaram and Sushil Kumar Shinde are said to be in contention.
While there is uncertainty about Mamata Banerjee's next move, the UPA seems to be comfortable in terms of numbers after Mulayam Singh put an end to his brief dalliance with Banerjee by announcing his party's support to Mukherjee's candidature. The SP chief was evasive about the possibility of joining the government, saying there was "no invitation".
Sources said the decision to call Banerjee's bluff and nominate Mukherjee was taken at the Congress Core Group meeting on Thursday evening, but the question over timing the announcement was resolved today.
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held
- Rajasthan Royals to file FIR against tainted trio
- If found guilty, BCCI to ask ICC to erase Sreesanth records
- Top cops among 42 named in death of blast accused
- Manmohan-Li talks: PM takes tough line on incursion issue
- Security forces blame Maoists, villagers say CoBRA man was killed in 'friendly fire'