The BJP yesterday announced its support to Vice-President K R Narayanan in the presidential election. The party is likely to file separate nominations in Narayanans favour.
However, it is unlikely that Narayanan will be able to avoid a contest unless former chief election commissioner T N Seshan withdraws from the race. Seshan has already filed his nomination with the Shiv Senas backing.
Some senior politicians say they expect that Seshan could raise legal and procedural wrangles if he remains in the fray.
The BJP decided to support Narayanan at its parliamentary board meeting under the chairmanship of party vice-president Sunder Singh Bhandari.
Among those who attended were former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Murli Manohar Joshi, Vijaye Raje Scindia, Jana Krishnamurthy, Kushabhau Thakre, KL Sharma, O Rajgopal, KN Govindacharya and Pramod Mahajan.
Immediately after the meeting, Vajpayee conveyed the partys decision to Narayanan on the telephone. Later, a three member delegation comprising Sharma, Rajgopal and Mahajan formally met Narayanan.
The BJPs decision was a mere formality as the party had already decided to support Narayanan after he spoke to Vajpayee on the telephone and sought his partys support.
The decision was unanimous, party general secretary Pramod Mahajan said after the meeting. The BJP has accepted Narayanans request to support him, he said, claiming that the Congress and the United Front support to Narayanan had not bearing on the partys decision.
On Narayanans credential of being a Dalit, he said though being a Dalit is an advantage it would be wrong to say that Narayanans certain elevation to President is because of his caste. Narayanan was well qualified for the post, he added.