As the 2017 Presidential election is getting closer, the speculation around the candidates has fueled up. While NDA hinted that its candidate might file the nomination on June 23, the Opposition is yet to decide on a joint name. One man that has been doing the rounds for a while is of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat but in another twist, CPI General Secretary S Sudhakar Reddy told The Indian Express on Friday that when enquired, they were told, “RSS leaders do not contest elections.” This statement came after senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu met CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, S Sudhakar Reddy and CPI leader D Raja.
“We told them that we don’t want anybody from your hardcore. Anybody with secular democratic credentials we will agree. We told them that you have the numbers, you may win the elections but the country is divided…this is an election for unification, so try to unify the country by bringing a candidate who is acceptable to all,” Reddy was quoted saying after the meeting.
The meeting between Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Sitaram Yechury lasted for about 30 minutes after which the CPM leader said a person with “impeccable secular credentials” should be the next president. “They told us they want our support. We said fine, tell us the bases for the support, who is the candidate. But that they did not convey…they will take some time to do that,” Yechury told reporters after the meeting.
“Since the government is doing it, we welcomed them in our office. Very good, they came here,” he said. Countering the opinion that the opposition should support the ruling alliance’s candidate since it has the people’s mandate, Yechury said the NDA had polled 39 per cent votes during the 2014 general polls as against 61 per cent of the opposition. “So, a candidate of the opposition is the one who has the mandate. So, the government should also consider that aspect,” he said.