Hours after Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav announced support for Pranab Mukherjee as president, party general secretary and MP Kiranmoy Nanda Friday said his party was left with no other option as A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had reportedly expressed his disinterest in contesting.
"We had no other options than supporting Pranab Mukherjee. Because A.P.J Abdul Kalam as per media reports was not interested in the top job, (former Lok Sabha speaker) Somnath Chatterjee too didn't contact us. So after Congress announced its presidential candidate we had to extend our support," Nanda told IANS.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the central government's most reliable troubleshooter, was Friday named the United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) candidate for president and found backing from several parties including the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
On Wednesday, Mulayam Singh had, along with Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, virtually rejected the name of Mukherjee, a suggestion made by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
But in less than 48 hours, the Samajwadi Party Friday did a U-turn, and announced it would back Mukherjee as the country's president.
Nanda clarified that Wednesday's announcement was done as Congress had not clearly stated who their candidate will be as Sonia Gandhi had proposed two names - of Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari.
However, he denied that SP's last minute U-turn will seal the future of any new political axis revolving around Banerjee and Mulayam Singh.
"I don't think this issue will seal the fate of the Mamata and Mulayam axis. In politics decisions are taken according to developments. Even after our support to Congress I had a talk with the Trinamool leadership," he said.