As part of the Opposition’s consultations on fielding a common candidate for the presidential poll, senior CPI leader D Raja today met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and discussed related issues as well as the prevailing political scenario. In the past few days, Gandhi had held meetings with Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, among others, as part of informal consultations on the presidential election.
Parleys are also being held among leaders of other opposition parties. The presidential election has to be held before July 24, when President Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends. He had taken over the post in July 2012, defeating the NDA candidate, late P A Sangma. At the meeting which lasted about 30 minutes, Gandhi and Raja agreed to the possibility of fielding a candidate acceptable to all secular opposition parties, sources said, adding that there was no discussion on likely candidates.
The two leaders also discussed the prevailing political situation, while expressing concern over growing intolerance and its impact on the people, they said. The Congress has said it would take a “conscious, concerted and balanced call” on a joint opposition presidential candidate after consultation with all opposition leaders.
The sudden flurry of opposition activities comes in the wake of the BJP’s winning streak in states since the formation of the Narendra Modi government in 2014. It currently has governments in 13 states and is a junior partner in the ruling alliance in Jammu and Kashmir and Andhra Pradesh. However, the party had lost badly in Bihar and Delhi.
The opposition unity for contesting may well turn out to be a precursor to an anti-NDA front ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.