Indore: Against the backdrop of reports about fissures in the NDA over the name of the presidential candidate, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday said that the name would be finalised only after consulting the NDA leaders and small parties.
Speaking at the Indore Press Club, Gadkari said, "Before finalising the names of the candidates for the posts of President and Vice-President, talks would be held with the NDA leaders individually as well as collectively."
"Talks will also be held with small parties, since the regional parties have assumed a lot of importance today," he said.
He said that the possibility of arriving at a consensus with some political parties, which are now part of the UPA, would also be explored.
Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had recently said that the party was open to the idea of backing former president APJ Abdul Kalam if parties like the Samajwadi Party mooted his name.
Clarifying his stand on Swaraj's comment, Gadkari said she had only mentioned that Kalam was among some good names in the race for the top post. "However, it does not mean that a final decision on the matter has been taken within the BJP," he said.
JD-U president Sharad Yadav had yesterday snubbed the BJP on Tuesday for "unilaterally announcing its stand" on the issue. "Whatever Sushma Swaraj has said is the opinion of the BJP. This is not our party's view. The issue was not discussed in any NDA meeting. BJP has not discussed the issue with us," Yadav had said.
The BJP president said that his party wanted to take all the parties with it to decide a candidate for the top post. He said that he would try to hold talks with Sharad Yadav and the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the issue on Wednesday.