Vajpayee wants next President through consensus

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New Delhi, May 22 (UNI) NDA Chairman and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today favoured the election of country's next President through consensus and said he would be striving for such an effort in the coming days.

Talking to newspersons after releasing a story collection penned by Uttarkhand Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, Mr Vajpayee, who has been authorised by the NDA parties to make a choice about the next President, recalled how the previous government had brought in 'near consensus' around Dr Kalam. Although there was a contest it appeared a 'non-event' because the country overwhelmingly rallied around him, he noted.

Admitting that there were different opinions, Mr Vajpayee said when the NDA approached Dr Kalam to offer him a second term, there was some opposition to it. ''They told us that the NDA struck to the convention that the President will not get a second term but why offer Dr Kalam an exception,'' he said, adding they saw merit in the argument and conveyed to the President about the convention coming in the way of a second term for him and he accepted it.

''Now there is a 'standing question' -- who will be the next President. My firm view is, let it be through a consensus and I will strive for its talking to parties and people,'' Mr Vajpayee remarked.

When a reporter drew Mr Vajpayee's attention about the country wanting him as a 'consensus choice' for the Presidentship, the former Prime Minister, who has ruled himself out of the race, said that some people wrote that he was ready to take ''political sanyas''. ''Sanyas and me. What will happen to sanyas and me'', he quipped, indicating by what appeared to be a jovial remark, he had every intention of staying put in politics at least for the time being.

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