Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said the BJP should try to build a consensus on the Presidential candidate by talking to all the parties and favoured a second term for Pranab Mukherjee. The JD(U) president said that re-election of President Mukherjee with consensus will set a good precedent, but added that it was for the ruling party at the Centre to decide on the candidate after taking on board all the parties. “The President represents the entire country and its people and as such the ruling party at the Centre should take an initiative to seek a consensus on selection of candidate for the top constitutional post after holding talks with all opposition parties,” he told reporters on the sidelines of ‘Lok Samvad’ programme here.
“I am not saying it is the duty of the ruling party at the Centre to seek consensus on the presidential candidate, but it should take the initiative in this regard as the president’s post represents entire country and the people,” Kumar said. However, if the ruling party does not go for consensus, then it is the opposition’s duty to put up a joint candidate for president’s post, he said. The JD(U) national president’s remarks assume significance in the backdrop of Congress President Sonia Gandhi attempts to cobble up opposition unity for the presidential elections even as the BJP-led NDA appears confident that its nominee will be elected for the top constitutional post.
Asked about a possible second term for the incumbent president, Pranab Mukherjee, the Bihar Chief Minister, “What could be better if he gets a second term, but that has to be decided by the ruling party at the Centre.” He said that “the re-election of Mukherjee with consensus will set a good precedent”. The JD(U), then part of the BJP-led NDA, had voted for Mukherjee, the UPA candidate, in the presidential elections in 2012.