Home India Politics Basu shuts the door on Shekawat’s presidential hopes

Basu shuts the door on Shekawat’s presidential hopes


Kolkata : Communist patriarch Jyoti Basu Thursday virtually ruled out support to Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, saying that the Left parties would never support someone with "communal" links for the post of president.

"There is no question of supporting a person who believes in communalism," Basu told reporters after a cordial meeting with Shekhawat, who is the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee for the presidential polls.

Shekhawat, who belonged to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before becoming vice president, called on Basu at the latter's Salt Lake residence here to seek his support for his candidature.

In any case, Basu reportedly told Shekhawat, that it would be the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leaders in New Delhi who would decide who to back for presidency.

But Basu later clarified to reporters that the communists would not support a "communal candidate" for the post of president.

"I have known him for a long time when he was the chief minister of Rajasthan. I told him that he should discuss with our leaders in Delhi. But there is no question of supporting a candidate with communal background," Basu said.

"Last time we could not support (President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam) because he was put up by the BJP. I don't know who we will support. It is not decided. I know Congress wants its own candidate," Basu said.

The Left was earlier inclined to support External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee if the Congress nominated him. Kalam retires July 24.