Congress President Sonia Gandhi is back in the spotlight once again as the opposition parties continue to push for a united candidate for the upcoming Presidential poll. According to the reports by The Indian Express, Sonia Gandhi has started to look for a suitable candidate by meeting and calling leaders from various political parties. In one such bid, she had recently invited The Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar who was in Delhi to her residence along with CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
During her meet with Nitish Kumar, Sonia reportedly asked Bihar Chief Minister’s about the views of other parties with whom he is in touch on the issue of larger opposition unity. According to The Indian express’ sources, Nitish Kumar asked Sonia Gandhi that Congress should take lead as it is the main opposition party. The report also says that Sonia Gandhi has hold talks with one of her biggest critics, Sharad Pawar and CPI’s D Raja, among others.
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Confirming that the Congress president called up Pawar during Thursday’s meeting with Nitish, NCP general secretary D P Tripathi told The Indian Express, “There are many issues that are being talked about and not just the President’s election. On the Presidential election, what is being explored is whether there can be any consensus candidate.” Sonia has reportedly held informal talks with RJD chief Lalu Prasad, sources added.
Nitish Kumar has also conducted meetings with leaders like H D Deve Gowda of JDS, Biju Patnaik of BJD, the CPI(M)’s Yechury and S Sudhakar Reddy of CPI regularly over the last six months. In East, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who was on a three-day visit to Odisha met CM Naveen Patnaik and discussed the issue. During her visit, she urged all the regional parties to unite and move ahead together. While talking to reporters in Puri, on Wednesday, Mamata had said, “All regional parties should come together and move ahead with greater strength, maintaining good relations with each other. Our effort will be to unite them.”