Even as the ruling NDA at the Centre maintained silence over its nominee for the presidential poll, Opposition parties have intensified their efforts to decide a joint candidate for the top post. According to news agency ANI, Opposition leaders will be meeting on May 26 at the Parliament Library Building to take a decision on it.
Earlier, it was reported that major Opposition parties plan to approach regional players as part of the efforts for finalizing a joint presidential candidate. As a part of it, efforts are on to bring political rivals Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party on the same page, besides trying to rope in Naveen Patnaik’s BJD in Odisha, reported news agency PTI quoting Opposition sources. They added that its candidate for the top post could be a non-Congressman. Current incumbent Pranab Mukherjee belonged to the Congress before becoming President. His term ends on July 24, this year, and the election has to take place before that.
Amid the buzz over the nominee for the presidential post, the names of former West Bengal governor, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and JD(U) veteran Sharad Yadav are reportedly coming up as possible nominees. Apart from these names, the name of NCP chief Sharad Pawar has also been discussed by the opposition camp. However, the Maharashtra politician has said he would not contest the poll.
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Talking about the issue of nominating presidential candidate, Congress’ communications department chief Randeep Surjewala had told PTI that the party along with all Opposition parties will work to build a majority opinion for a candidate with “unquestionable record of dedication and commitment to the founding principles of Constitution, bereft of political colour or pressure from the ruling dispensation”. Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav also reportedly said that the opposition should unite to put up a consensus candidate for the top post.