Former Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav today said the non-BJP parties are trying to arrive at a consensus to select a common candidate for the upcoming presidential election. “Bringing the non-BJP parties together for putting up a common candidate for the presidential poll is not easy. But there is enough time for it as the poll is scheduled for July,” he told PTI here. “After coming together, these parties will decide who will be their common candidate,” Yadav said.
He, however, added that the parties have not started discussing any names yet.
The BJP’s thumping victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand have lent a sense of urgency to the opposition’s efforts to forge unity ahead of the presidential election.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had recently met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to explore the possibility of fielding a joint candidate, while RJD chief Lalu Prasad spoke about cobbling together a Bihar-style ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance).
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier called for a larger unity among the regional parties to take on the BJP.
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The JD(U) leader arrived here late last night and left for Waghodia town in the district this morning where his party’s social justice rally was scheduled to be concluded.
Speaking to reporters, Yadav appealed to the Narendra Modi government to hold a dialogue with all the “stake- holders” in Kashmir, including the Hurriyat leaders, as the situation in the Valley has become “worse”.
“It is a matter of grave concern that the situation in Kashmir is worsening since 2014, when the Modi government came to power. The situation deteriorated further after the BJP-PDP coalition government took charge of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Stressing on the need for the dialogue, Yadav said, “If talks could be held with the leaders of various political parties and with rebel Nagas to arrive at a peace accord in Nagaland, then why the Modi government cannot hold talks with all the stake-holders in Kashmir?” he asked.
He claimed the situation in the Valley never became “so bad” since 1947.
Alleging that the Modi government has failed on all fronts, Yadav claimed the number of unemployed people in the country has risen to 10 crore.
“Modi’s slogan of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ has remained only on paper. The contract system brought in by the Modi government in all sectors has led to loss of jobs,” he claimed.
Yadav alleged that the Modi government “did not consider the tribals and the STs as Hindus even though they constitute 20 per cent of total population in the country”.
“We will not allow the government to divide people on the basis of caste and religion. We will defeat the BJP’s designs,” he said.
Yadav said the JD(U) will form a “maha gathbandhan” (grand alliance) in Gujarat, where the Assembly elections are due in December, to defeat the ruling BJP.
He also demanded that EVMs fitted with VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) be used in the Gujarat polls.