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Pratibha's candidature final and irreversible: Left

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, June 21: A day after President Abdul A P J Kalam expressed his willingness to seek a second term if there was ''certainty'' on his candidature, the Left parties today made it clear that their decision to support Ms Pratibha Patil was ''final and irreversible''.

The CPI(M) and CPI leaders made a categorical assertion to this effect when the 'Third Front' leaders Chandrababu Naidu, Mulayam Singh Yadav and others called on them this morning at the headqaurters of the two parties.

During a half-an-hour meeting with the CPI(M) leaders at the A K Gopalan Bhawan, the Third Front leaders, who made a plea for a second term for Dr Kalam, were told in no uncertain terms by the Left leaders that ''there is no question of reconsidering or looking back as Ms Patil is the uannimous choice of the UPA, supported by the Left, the BSP and other parties.'' Even though there was no formal briefing on the meeting, top CPI(M) leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury are said to have told the Third Front leaders that how could the Left support Dr Kalam when they fielded freedom fighter and INA veteran Captain Laxmi Sehgal against him last time.

An hour later, the Third front leaders called on CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan at Ajoy Bhawan to make a similar appeal but got a more clearcut and stern reply.

After the about 15-minute meeting, Mr Bardhan, flanked by party National Secretary D Raja, told mediapersons that they had told the Front leaders that there is now no question of ''reconsidering position'' on the presidential polls.

''Everything is over now... We cannot agree to your plea for a second term for Dr Kalam,'' Mr Bardhan told them.

To the Third Front leaders' argument that they were making a bid for Dr Kalam as they wanted to maintain equidistance from both the Congress and the BJP, the CPI leaders said they had cautioned them against ''getting involved in the BJP's ploy.'' Congress chief and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has already told the Third Front leaders that they were just undertaking a ''futile exercise'' and even did not meet them.


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