Leaders of non-NDA parties, including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will attend a function to honour DMK chief M Karunanidhi here next week, the party said today. The event is meant to mark Karunanidhi’s diamond jubilee of entry into Tamil Nadu Assembly and it will not be a platform for the non-NDA parties to discuss the Presidential polls due in July, DMK Working President M K Stalin said.
In fact, the very participation of the ailing Karunanidhi himself will be decided only after doctors’ approval, he said. The nonagenarian leader is recuperating following a tracheostomy procedure in December last to improve breathing. The twin events of the diamond jubilee and Karunanidhi’s 94th birthday celebrations will be held on June 3 here, Stalin told reporters.
Besides Gandhi and Kumar, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, National Conference supremo Farooq Abdullah, RJD founder Lalu Prasad Yadav, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, TMC MP Derek O’Brien and CPI National Secretary D Raja, among others, will attend the celebrations, Stalin said.
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Asked if there would be any discussions on Presidential polls, Stalin said “this function is not meant for that. (Congress President) Sonia Gandhi has spoken to me over phone on announcing a common candidate for the Presidential polls.
“Similarly, other leaders are also holding discussions and a decision on this issue will be taken only after all (of us) discuss the matter. This function is not being held for that purpose. It is meant only for Kalaignar’s (Karunanidhi) diamond jubilee and birthday celebrations,” he said.
The opposition is trying to put up a consensus candidate in the Presidential polls as incumbent Pranab Mukherjee’s term is coming to end in July this year. TMC founder and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already met Gandhi in this regard.