Presidential race takes a dramatic twist

New Delhi: The Presidential race took a dramatic twist on Wednesday with the Congress declaring Pranab Mukherjee as their preferred choice but two key allies, TMC and SP, came out with a surprise response by suggesting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s name.

Earlier in the evening, Trinamool Congress Chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in the national capital.

Speaking to media after her meeting with Sonia Gandhi, she said the Congress president told her that Pranab Mukherjee was the first choice of the Congress while Hamid Ansari is the second choice.

"We had detailed discussions…. Soniaji told me that she had held meetings with two-four allies and her first choice (for Presidentship) is Pranab Mukherjee and second choice is Hamid Ansari," Banerjee told reporters.

The West Bengal Chief Minister said she told Gandhi that "at the moment, I cannot say anything. We need to discuss with Mulayam Singh and my own party. Then only we can say something."

Soon afterwards, she met Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh and both of them together addressed media again to announce the TMC-SP combine’s list of presidential candidates.

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