The Congress today said it would prefer a consensus presidential candidate and it would be good if the government understood this. “The Congress party has tried to bring about a consensus on every important issue. But the picture is not yet clear on the issue of the presidential election,” said Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma. He said it would be better if the government also understood the need for unanimity on the issue. “It will be good if there is consensus. But I cannot say anything as of now,” he said. Asked whether there was any possibility of reaching an agreement on Pranab Mukherjee’s successor, the Congress leader said, “I cannot say what the government is thinking, but I do understand their mentality, which is against the country. It will be difficult for me to say anything on what the government is thinking.”
Sharma said the BJP had displayed its “mental bankruptcy” the last time as well when it opposed Mukherjee’s candidature and contested the presidential election. The BJP panel, set up by party chief Amit Shah and comprising senior leaders Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu, has reached out to some opposition leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The committee members will meet Gandhi tomorrow while trying to arrive at an agreement.
Asked about the meeting, Sharma said, “How can I make a statement even before the meeting with leaders of the ruling party.”
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According to sources, the opposition sub-committee formed by Gandhi met in Parliament yesterday. Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge today apprised the Congress president of the developments. While the process for the presidential election kicked off with the start of nominations yesterday, the elections will be held on July 17 and counting on July 20. The term of incumbent president Mukherjee ends on July 24.