A clear indication to this effect was given by a senior party leader, who said that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi would initiate consultations with supporting parties of the UPA only after the budget session of Parliament, which concludes on May 22. The leader, who declined to be identified, said that the issue was still open but it does not at all mean that a dark horse is likely to emerge.
Though Congress has not named any candidate for the top constitutional post so far, the names of Mukherjee and Vice President M Hamid Ansari are being talked about with other parties already having indicated their preferences for one or the other.
Sonia is expected to consult one-member parties supporting the Congress led UPA today and tomorrow to elicit their opinion too in the crucial matter. Congress is chanting the consensus mantra for the Presidential election in view of the fact that it does not have the requisite numbers in the electoral college if the entire UPA plus some outside supporters do not unitedly put up a candidate.