As the presidential elections come increasingly closer, voices demanding a common Opposition candidate are getting louder. A lot of meetings have taken place behind closed doors over the last few months as Congress president Sonia Gandhi met Bihar CM Nitish Kumar while Mamata Banerjee met Naveen Patnaik during her Odisha trip. In the latest developments, former administrator, diplomat and Governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi was reached by the Opposition leaders with a proposal to make him the joint Opposition candidate, according to a report by The Indian Express.
“Yes, I have been spoken to. But the conversations have been of a very preliminary nature. It would not be right for me to say anything beyond that,” Gopalkrishna Gandhi who is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi told The Indian Express. The report quoted sources in Opposition who confirmed that names of Gandhi and that of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar have emerged as favourites. Even though Gandhi said he doesn’t want to speculate anything but sources told the daily that both Sonia Gandhi and CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury have spoken to him.
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The report added that West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is also keen on Gandhi. She had previously proposed his name for the post of vice-president in 2012 but back then the proposal was declined by Gandhi. The report further stated that Sonia Gandhi is expected to meet Banerjee and BSP chief Mayawati in the third week of May after which the final decision can be taken. “It depends on who the opposite side is. If it is Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu, then Kumar could be a good choice,” a senior leader was quoted in the report who explained that Opposition candidate can depend on who the ruling party chooses.
Meanwhile, Jagan Mohan Reddy has declared his support to the BJP candidate. “We will support any candidate the BJP fields as we have very less difference in opinion. Except for differences on the land acquisition bill and special status for Andhra Pradesh, we share similar opinions on various issues which we think are pro-people,” Jagan said after a meeting with the Prime Minister.