Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) and the President of the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) and the President of the Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi.Reuters

The race for the presidential poll is building up, as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) meet is taking place today (June 15) to discuss on the presidential candidate.

According to reports, UPA is expected to formally announce Pranab Mukherjee as the Presidential candidate at the 4 pm meeting. Trinamool Congess chief Mamata Banerjee has said that she wouldn't attend the meeting as the Congress party has already decided on the candidate. She has also reportedly dared the Congress to drop her out of the UPA if they found her to be a burden, a report in IBN Live said.

Mamata rejected both Pranab and Vice President Hamid Ansari's names for the president post after her meeting with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday (June 13).

Later, Mamata met Samajwadi party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. They rejected Congress' choice and suggested three other names - former President APJ Abdul Kalam, former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee and current Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Mamata claimed that APJ Abdul Kalam is their first choice.

However, the Congress has rejected all the three names suggested by Mamata and Mulayam. While speaking to reporters, Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said: "We cannot afford to spare Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. The other two names (APJ Abdul Kalam and Somnath Chatterjee) are not acceptable," according to DNA.

"During UPA-II (election of leader), we have already said he (Singh) will remain the Prime Minister till 2014. Congress does not take such a step (of changing its leader) in between," he added.

Meanwhile, the NDA meeting has already begun at senior leader LK Advani's residence to discuss the situation. While the BJP has said that it will wait for the Congress to announce the candidate's name first, it is believed that the saffron party would support Kalam for the President post.

Moreover, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, whose party Janata Dal (United) is a major ally in the NDA, has invited Kalam for lunch, adding to speculations that his party might support Kalam. It is claimed that Kalam has already told Mamata that he would contest the election only if he is assured 60 per cent majority.

With more possible names being suggested, this Presidential race is far from over.