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No contest, Kalam opts out of Prez poll

News18test sharma |

Updated:June 22, 2007, 8:53 PM IST
No contest, Kalam opts out of Prez poll

New Delhi: President A P J Abdul Kalam on Friday announced he would not run for a second term in office “in the current scenario” because he does not want the Rashtrapati Bhavan to become involved in a political process.

"The President told a delegation (of United National Progressive Alliance leaders) that after considering their request and reviewing the situation carefully from all angles, he has decided that in the current scenario, he will not be interested in running for a second term as he does not want Rashtrapati Bhavan to become involved in any political process," said Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesman S M Khan.

"The President also told them that his mission in life is to work for development of the country which he will continue to do wherever he will be," the spokesman said. The President thanked the people of India for the love and affection towards him.

Kalam on Wednesday surprised the nation when he told the eight-party UNPA he was willing to contest for a second term if his victory was “certain”.

"As there is overwhelming love from people from across the country, I am willing to go for a second term if there is certainty. However, I am willing to wait for a few days," he told UNPA leaders, who have been working to get support from him.

Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, an Independent candidate in the Presidential election, was willing to pull out for Kalam but the Congress-led UPA firmly rejected the “consensus candidate” idea.

Three senior ministers said Kalam must not expect support from the government. Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi called Kalam’s interest in a second term “unfortunate” and RJD chief and Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav said the President should step “down gracefully”

NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said the UPA had selected Pratibha Patil as its candidate and there would be no change.

Kalam changed his mind after UPA’s rejection. AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa said Kalam was “people’s choice” and the UNPA correct in requesting him to seek a second term.

""We have already decided that we will not support the candidates of UPA-Left combine and the NDA. We will need some time to think about our next step,” said Jayalalitha.

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