Chennai, June 18: The Third Front, comprising eight regional parties, today favoured a second term for President A P J Abdul Kalam in the coming Presidential poll.
The Front, which met here for its crucial conclave, decided to throw its weight behind Dr Kalam and appealed to all parties to sink their differences and support his candidature for a second term.
Briefing reporters after marathon deliberations, AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa said all parties, including the Left, BJP and the DMK should come forward and support Dr Kalam's candidature in the interest of the nation.
Ms Jayalalithaa sought the support of all parties for a second term for Dr Kalam, saying he was the right person for the top post. All the parties, especially the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu, should support Dr Kalam's candidature as he hailed from the State, she said. ''The Front would soon seek an appointment with Dr Kalam and persuade him to stand for a second term.'' ''We are making an appeal to all the parties through this media conference to support Dr Kalam's candidature...let us see what transpires after this,'' the AIADMK chief said.
''To preserve the unity and integrity of the country, all the parties have to evolve a consensus on the Presidential candidate,'' she said, adding that at a time when there were deep political divisions in the country, a contest for the coveted post was not in anybody's interests.
Ms Jayalalithaa said the candidatures of neither Ms Pratibha Patil, the nominee of the Congress-led UPA and Left parties, nor Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, backed by the BJP-led NDA, were unanimously acceptable. ''Many consider as a joke, the nomination of Ms Patil,'' the AIADMK chief said, claiming that the general public was not inclined toward taking her candidature seriously. ''It's a joke played on the nation by (Congress President) Sonia Gandhi,'' she said.
Ms Jayalalithaa said many parties had reservations over Mr Shekhawat's candidature. ''We are unable to think of anyone else (than Dr Kalam), who will be acceptable to all the parties.'' She said several print, electronic media and private organisations had carried out surveys on the next Presidential candidate and it had been found that nearly 80 to 90 per cent of the people favoured Dr Kalam's candidature for a second term.
Ms Jayalalithaa said the Front's decision to nominate Dr Kalam for a second term ''was a reflection of the overwhelming public opinion'' in his favour. To a question, she said the Front had not yet approached the Left parties for their support. On the Front's next course of action if the other political parties' rejected its appeal, she said a decision would be taken after getting the feedback.
Justifying the Front's decision, Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu said Dr Kalam could not be identified with any party and was acceptable to all. ''Everybody knows that he has been a driving force for the youth and scientists and has won the acclaim of all, both in India and abroad,'' he added.
Today's conclave, chaired by Ms Jayalalithaa, was attended by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mr Amar Singh (SP), INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala and MDMK's Vaiko among others.