I am here to discuss presidential candidate with UPA: DMK chief

New Delhi, May 28 | Updated: May 29 2007, 05:34am hrs
The ruling coalitions moves to have a UPA nominee installed in Rashtrapati Bhawan picked up momentum on Monday with the arrival of DMK chief and Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi in the capital, even a new names including senior Congress leader Moti Lal Vora got hitched to the presidential bandwagon.

Karunanidhi has come here to participate in the 2-day conference of the national development council. But he got down to the task of giving his partys views to the UPA leadership by meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He also held discussions with other alliance partners like Sharad Pawar, as well as Left leaders including CPIM general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI general secretary AB Bardhan.

Talks on the presidential nomination took a significant step last week with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati deciding to support the UPA. She met both the Prime Minister as well as the Congress president on the issue.

I have come to Delhi to take part in the National Development Council meeting and also discuss the Presidential candidate with UPA leadership, Karunanidhi told reporters at the airport. The DMK chief, who can claim the leadership of the second largest front (of Tamil Nadu parties) within the UPA, held preliminary talks for about 25 minutes with Gandhi, but refused to divulge what they spoke about.

I will be coming here next week again is all that he said. He was accompanied by union surface transport minister TR Baalu.

There has been speculation that the DMK supremo may be garnering support for the post of vice-president, which should be a non-Congress nominee if the Congress gets to field its candidate for the Presidential post. The name of K Anbazhagana close confidante of Karunanidhihas been doing the rounds for the vice presidential post.

After meeting Karunanidhi at the Tamil Nadu house, CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat said the discussions were as part of the ongoing consultations between the UPA and the Left parties. These are ongoing consultations. We have already announced the criteria for selecting the next President, Karat told reporters. Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar also did not divulge any detail.

These issues cannot be discussed with the media," Pawar said after the meeting. The DMK has 165 MLAs in the Tamil Nadu assembly and 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 2 in the Rajya Sabha. By June 15, the party can add at least three more MPs to its Rajya Sabha tally, as six posts are to be filled from Tamil Nadu to the Upper House on June 15.