Election to choose the next president of India is to be held before July 24, 2017 and amid the hectic negotiations over a joint presidential candidate by the Opposition, NCP leader Sharad Pawar drove down to 10, Janpath to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence on Wednesday. The post is occupied by Pranab Mukherjee at the moment. Both the leaders held a discussion for more than half an hour on the issue of putting up a common Opposition candidate, as reported by the Indian Express. The leaders reportedly also discussed the current political scenario in the country in which a rampant Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been decimating all rivals and that too by big margins.
Though this recent meeting with Pawar is taken as significant in the view of the history of bitterness between the two leaders, especially after Pawar walked out of the Congress in 1999 on Gandhi’s ‘foreign origin’ issue a year after she took over as the party president, the two still share an equation between them when it comes to finding common ground over certain issues.
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The meeting is also seen as Gandhi’s attempt to bring together all the Opposition parties against the BJP. Congress president has been spearheading the Opposition attempts in putting up a joint candidate to replace Pranab Mukherjee and has held a series of meeting with several leaders recently. Gandhi met JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav yesterday. However, he termed the meeting as a mere “courtesy call”. Sonia Gandhi also met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader D Raja a few days back. She also had a telephonic conversation with West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. Not only that, in the coming days Sonia is meeting DMK’s M K Stalin, RJD chief Lalu Prasad and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah.
President Pranab Mukherjee’s term is set to end on 24 July 2017. Pranab Mukherjee had taken over the post in July 2012, defeating the then NDA candidate, the late P A Sangma.