External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, considered a possible contender in the Presidential race, on Saturday denied the possibility as a “rumour.” She said this as BJP President Amit Shah said “all names” would be considered.
Swaraj was speaking to the reporters on the sidelines of a function of her ministry and described media reports suggesting that she is one of the candidates under consideration by the party as “rumours.”
These are rumours. I am the External Affairs Minister and you are asking me something which is an internal matter.Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister for External Affairs
Earlier, Shah had met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who has pitched for RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat or agro-scientist MS Swaminathan for the top post.
Shah, who held a press conference in Mumbai on three years of the Narendra Modi government, said:
We are discussing and considering various names among ourselves and all the NDA constituents. The BJP believes in consensus and consultations with all parties.Amit Shah, President, Bharatiya Janata Party
On the names suggested by ally Shiv Sena, he said all names would be considered and discussed before any final decision is taken. He said jokingly, “If you have any names in mind, please give it to me. We shall consider that too.”
Asked about the complaint by Opposition parties that the government side did not give any name, Shah said:
If we propose any names, they will say it has already been decided, so what is the purpose of these meetings?
Shah is slated to meet Thackeray on Sunday morning in Mumbai and discuss issues including the candidate for the President's election.
The Shiv Sena, which shares power with the BJP both in the centre and the state, has been sulking over various issues and keeps sniping at the saffron partner.
The party has not voted with the BJP in the last two Presidential elections.
On Friday, Rajnath Singh and Naidu were reportedly asked by CPI leader D. Raja whether the BJP would be fielding Bhagwat or Swaminathan as suggested by the Shiv Sena. Naidu reportedly told him that the RSS does not contest elections.