In a latest development to the ongoing debate over Presidential candidates, former President APJ Abdul Kalam has announced that he would not contest for the President post, saying he never aspired for a second term at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Kalam was expected to declare his decision on contesting for Rashtrapati Bhavan by Monday noon. "I have decided not to contest for the post of President. My conscience is not permitting me to contest," he was quoted by media as saying, while making the announcement.
He was the President of India between 2002 and 2007during the NDA regime.
Kalam was BJP's choice and the party has been trying to convince Kalam to contest for president post. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani spoke to Kalam on Monday and tried to persuade him. However, he failed to convince the former President.
Kalam's final decision will indeed disappoint West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as she has been lending unconditional support for his candidature.
Kalam commenting on Mamata's support in a statement said, "I thank Mamata Banerjee for her faith in me."
The West Bengal Chief Minister has reportedly decided to abstain from voting if Kalam doesn't participate.
The BJP is now expected to back former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma, who is already enjoying an unconditional support of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Media reports said that the BIP leaders have also suggested Mamata to back Sangma's candidature if Kalam refrains from contesting the polls.
Sangma is likely to benefit from Kalam's announcement, as BJP may support his candidature now.