No consensus on a candidate for the Presidential poll in Opposition meet


New Delhi, June 15 Cracks appeared in the Opposition camp when of the 22 parties invitee, only 16 attended the meeting on Wednesday convened by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss a joint candidate for the upcoming Presidential poll.

While Telangana Rashtriya Samiti, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had an objection to sharing a platform with the Congress some other parties were reportedly upset at a last-minute resolution against Prime Minister Narendra Modi moved by Mamata Banerjee.

Banerjee addressed a press conference later with Mehbooba Mufti, chief of the People’s Democratic Party; Mallikarjun Khadke of the Congress; Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party and TR Baalu of the DMK. “This was only a preliminary meeting. We will meet again to select a joint candidate of the Opposition in the face of this bulldosing by the BJP,” she said.

The Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, whose name was proposed as a consensus candidate for the President’s post, turned down the offer. “I sincerely appreciate the leaders of opposition parties for suggesting my name as candidate for the election of the President of India at the meeting held in Delhi. However, I like to state that I have humbly declined the proposal of my candidature,” Pawar tweeted.

The next meeting to take the discussions further is likely to be held on June 20-21 and will be convened by Sharad Pawar in Mumbai. The parties said that it has been decided that a common candidate who will “uphold the democratic ethos of the country” will be chosen as the opposition nominee.

At the next meeting, the parties are expected to come up with names of leaders who could be widely acceptable, they said.

While Banerjee mentioned the names of National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and Gopalkrishna Gandhi as other alternatives, senior opposition leaders said that the remark was made in “passing” and “not seriously”.

Former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi was the consensus opposition candidate for the post of Vice President of India in 2017 but had lost to M Venkaiah Naidu in the election.

Published on

June 15, 2022

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