The first meeting between the government and the opposition over the July 17 presidential election ended inconclusively today without any names being discussed by the either side. Union ministers Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu met Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss the presidential poll as part of the ruling BJP’s outreach to stitch a consensus on the official nominee. “Government has not come forward with any name for the Presidential election and has asked if the opposition has any name for the top post,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said after the meeting. Singh and Naidu had gone to Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence to help evolve an agreement on the crucial election. The meeting lasted for 30 minutes.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was also present in the meeting, seen as the first major BJP outreach with the opposition on the significant matter. The meeting comes barely two days after a sub-group of opposition leaders constituted by Gandhi met in Azad’s Parliament chamber to discuss the opposition strategy. The meeting had decided to wait for the government proposal on the matter before taking a further view.