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Karunanidhi on two-day Delhi visit

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s two-day visit to Delhi beginning today is likely to help the United Progressive Alliance zero in on its Presidential candidate.

Karunanidhi is expected to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to finalise his party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s (DMK) support for the UPA’s Presidential nominee.

He is in the capital to attend a meeting of the National Development Council (NDC).

Karunanidhi and the Left have said that they would hold talks with UPA allies on the issue soon.

On Sunday, CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat said that his party would begin consultations with UPA alliance partners on the issue of Presidency.

The Left has set the criteria for the presidential nominee as someone who has a political background and firm secular credentials.

“Discussions are on with all the friendly parties and the idea is to have a candidate with impeccable secular credentials, understanding of political complexities and who could ensure balance between the judiciary, Parliament and the executive. There will be no compromise on that,” CPI (M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury had said.

Names of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde are doing the rounds for the UPA Presidential candidate.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has entrusted the task of consulting its allies to decide on the Presidential candidate to former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

BJP had earlier made it clear that it was seeking elevation of Vice President Bhairon Singh Sekhawat for the post of President, and in this regard the party had also held consultations with its alliance partners earlier this month.

The term of incumbent President A.P.J Abdul Kalam ends on July 24. So far, Kalam has not shown a direct willingness for a second term.

Kalam was elected as President during the former NDA regime.

The President is elected by an electoral college consisting of the elected members of both houses of the Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies.

Voting takes place by secret ballot and uses the Single Transferable Vote method of proportional representation.

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