The CPI(M) today said it will take a decision “politically” on the Presidential candidate after consulting other non-Congress secular parties once the UPA announces its choice for the top post.
The Left party made it clear that it was not bound to support the ruling coalition candidate.
“We are not bound, we are not part of the alliance of the Congress and the UPA that we have to support anybody they propose,” CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters.
Asked whether the party will support a Bengali, in an apparent reference to Pranab Mukherjee, who is the front runner for the candidature, Mr. Karat said, “I thought we are an all India party...politically we will take a decision after the name comes.”
He said the Left parties will meet and consult non-Congress secular parties and then will take a decision, Mr. Karat said.
The Presidential polls, slated in July, was discussed in the two-day party Central Committee meeting, which ended yesterday, and it authorised the Polit Bureau to formulate party’s strategy on the elections after discussing with other Left and like-minded secular parties.
When pointed out that the CPI(M) supported UPA candidate Pratibha Patil last time, Mr. Karat said it was a different situation then as the party was supporting the UPA government from outside.
“It is not a question of being in favour last time. Last time it was a different situation...(Now) it is for the Congress to decide on who will contest,” he said, adding the Left parties have decided that the UPA should come out with their proposal first.
“We don’t know who is going to be proposed. We can’t go by all the speculation. Did anyone expect that Pratibha Patil was going to be the President? Let the Congress party tell us. Why should we waste time discussing speculation,” he said.
The CPI(M) and other Left parties have so far refused to spell out their preference and have been asking the UPA government to come up with a candidate having “widest possible acceptance” for the Presidential elections.
While Mr. Mukherjee appears to be the front runner, the sources said some sections in the party have reservation about supporting a Congress candidate for the post of President.
Left party leaders maintain that there should be a candidate for the Presidential election based on the “widest possible acceptance”.