New Delhi: 8:41 PM: Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said that his party's support for Pranab Mukherjee as President did not mean support for the Congress. "It's sad that NDA couldn't find a presidential candidate in such a vast country. The NDA is indecisive, it need to get on the right path. For 2014 polls, we need to begin preparing now, he said.
2:34 PM: The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said on Tuesday that they were looking for a candidate from the "Third Front", but since there isn't one, they will hold discussions with other political parties and then come out with its decision.
"The UPA is supporting Pranab Mukerjee while the NDA is inclined to support Sangma. We are discussing with other political parties and will come out with a decision soon on this, in a day or two. Had there been a candidate from the Third Front, we would have immediately supported him but unfortunately there isn't one."
1:53 PM: NCP General Secretary DP Tripathi, who met Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday, said it was a courtesy meet. "I am his voter and to meet him is my duty. Sangma is our senior leader. We are meeting on June 21 in Delhi for the NCP's national executive. I am sure, Sangma will withdraw his candidature."
12:21 PM: Congress MP and Law Minister Salman Khurshid says the UPA is confident that Pranab Mukherjee will be elected as the President of India.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is in a bind over its plan to back NCP leader PA Sangma for the Presidential candidate. The party's strategy on a contest against Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential poll has backfired with the allies isolating it. While the Shiv Sena has openly endorsed Pranab, the JD(U) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are not in favour of a contest against him. The BJP leadership feels it can ultimately prevail over allies like the Shiv Sena and the JD(U) in its move to support Sangma's nomination.
11:10 am: BJP President Nitin Gadkari met party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley on Tuesday morning. Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy will also meet senior BJP leader LK Advani on Tuesday. Sangma has informed Swamy that he won't back out from the race.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece 'Saamna' confirmed its support for UPA's Presidential nominee Pranab Mukherjee.
Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray in the editorial said, "Nobody should accuse Shiv Sena of 'vishwasghaat'. The decision was purely based on national interest." "The dignity of the nation should not be compromised for narrow political gains. If you don't have a sword don't enter the battlefield. We should all come together and back Pranab Mukherjee and show the world we are united," he added.
Shiv Sena had also skipped the NDA meeting on Sunday to discuss the President poll. At the two-hour meeting, JDU leader Shivanand Tiwari is believed to have disfavoured a contest against Pranab because of his stature, reflecting a divide in the coalition.
BJP MP Maneka Gandhi also openly came out in Pranab's support, calling him an 'excellent candidate' for the President's post.
The BJP is in a fix as it does not want to let the polls go uncontested. It does not want to support Pranab and is trying to build consensus on Sangma.
Senior Leader LK Advani is also trying to get BJD chief Naveen Patnaik and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa on board to nominate Sangma as their joint candidate. An NDA meet is to be held only after deliberations with the BJD and the AIADMK.