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Sonia calls Vajpayee for Patil, snubbed

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Last Updated: June 15, 2007, 01:00 IST

Sonia calls Vajpayee for Patil, snubbed

“You announced candidate without taking our opinion,” ex-PM Atal Behari Vajpayee tells Sonia Gandhi.

New Delhi: The BJP on Thursday night refused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s request to support UPA candidate Pratibha Patil in the Presidential election.

NDA chairperson and former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee told the two leaders on phone that the Opposition would field its own candidate and is "unable" to support Patil because the UPA had not consulted it about her.

A BJP press release said Vajpayee rejected Sonia’s request saying: "You announced the candidate without taking our opinion. We, too, have our candidate and we are, therefore, unable to support you.”

BJP president Rajnath Singh said the party would not support Patil because the UPA had requested support for her only after finalising her name.

The BJP said Patil’s nomination is an insult to senior Congress leaders. "This announcement does not enhance the prestige of Pratibha Patil but it is an insult to leaders like Shivraj Patil, Pranab Mukherjee and Karan Singh whose names Congress itself floated as candidates for this prestigious election and then came with a different nominee altogether," said BJP MP V K Malhotra.

The BJP is likely to support Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, an Independent candidate, in the Presidential election on July 19.

first published:June 15, 2007, 01:00 IST
last updated:June 15, 2007, 01:00 IST