Antony, Mukherjee, Sonia, Singh and Karunanidhi attend UPA meeting in New Delhi
(L-R) India's Congress party leaders A. K. Antony, Pranab Mukherjee, party chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister-elect Manmohan Singh, and M. Karunanidhi chief minister of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu attend the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) meeting in New Delhi May 20, 2009. Singh vowed on Tuesday to revive growth and spread the benefits of economic expansion that swept his coalition back to power with a decisive mandate in a general election.REUTERS/B Mathur (INDIA POLITI

The Congress party's efforts to garner the maximum number of supports from its allies and like-minded parties to put its favourite on the President's chair got a boost as DMK chief patriarch M Karunanidhi apparently sounded his support for the party's nominee.

Defence Minister AK Antony met the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on Sunday at his Chennai residence to forge a consensus on the candidate. DMK leader Kanimozhi and former union minister TR Baalu also took part in the meeting that lasted for about an hour.

However, both Antony and Karunanidhi refrained from making any comments regarding the meeting.

"It was a very, very fruitful meeting. I'll report to the Congress president whatever he said," said Antony to the reporters after the meeting with DMK boss.

With President Pratiba Patil's term ending in July, all the parties including the government have churned out the names of their favourites for the top post.

The Congress cannot get away with its choice on its own as it lacks the required numbers. Hence, it has been holding series of meeting and personally approaching its allies to ensure its candidate gets the majority.

The DMK is the second biggest ally of the UPA government, thus its word on candidate for Patil's successor would make a lot of difference for the Congress.  

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However, the DMK sources said that Karunanidhi had articulated his opposition in nominating former president and scientist A P J Abdul Kalam to the top post and shown interest in considering Congress' nominees Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Reportedly, Karunanidhi has sought for a candidate with a significant political and administrative exposer, which is a direct contrast to what main opposition BJP and ally National Congress Party (NCP) demanded for.

The BJP and NCP demanded an apolitical candidate, who can purportedly take a neutral stand and deliver an unbiased service.

The BJP is recommending former president Kalam and NCP batting for former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma.

Media reports said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had met Union Agricultural Minister and NCP chief Shard Pawar in reaching a consensus about the next President.

However, Congress is apparently showing interest in NCP's choice, Sangma, while being reluctant about Kalam.