The leader, who did not want to be identified, said Badal, whose Shiromani Akali Dal is part of the BJP-led NDA, could be an ideal candidate in the VP polls so that UPA can have its candidate to succeed President Pratibha Patil easily as a consensus nominee. With BJP ruling several states and regional parties like SP, Trinamool Congress, AIADMK in charge of crucial states like U P, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu respectively, a deal with non-UPA parties could only make the choice a smooth affair, the leader said.
Ten years ago, the then Rajasthan Chief Minister late Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was made a Vice Presidential candidate by NDA which was in power then. Shekhawat had then defeated Sushilkumar Shinde put up by Congress and its allies. At that time, 'missile man' A P J Abdul Kalam had emerged as the consensus candidate for Presidentship as Congress was not agreeable with NDA's plans to field the then Maharashtra Governor P C Alexander.
The exercise on who will be the next President is expected to gain momentum during the second part of the Budget session of Parliament beginning April 24. Vice President Md Hamid Ansari, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, senior Congress leader Karan Singh are among several names that are being talked about as possible candidates for next Presidential elections.
With numbers not on the side of the ruling alliance, it is being said that Congress-led UPA has a better chance of winning the Presidential election if it fields a candidate more acceptable beyond party line but parties like SP, AIADMK and BSP would play an important role.