The opposition leaders on Wednesday announced that they have adopted a resolution to field one consensus candidate for the presidential elections scheduled to be held on July 18. “Several parties were here today. We’ve decided we will choose only one consensus candidate. Everybody will give this candidate our support. We will consult with others. This is a good beginning, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was quoted as saying by news agency ANI after the meeting. RSP’s NK Premchandran has revealed that Banerjee also suggested the names of Farooq Abdullah and Gopalkrishna Gandhi as probable opposition candidates, according to a PTI report.
CPI’s Binoy Viswam, who was present at the meeting, told news agency ANI that all parties had proposed Sharad Pawar’s name as the presidential candidate from the opposition camp. However, Pawar had refused citing health reasons. Viswam further said that despite this, all parties have asked the 81-year-old NCP supremo to revisit his stand. Meanwhile, Pawar took to Twitter to thank other opposition leaders for suggesting his name at the meeting, while adding that he would not contest the elections.
“Opposition leaders adopted a resolution to field a common candidate in the forthcoming Presidential poll. A candidate who can truly serve as custodian of the Constitution & stop Modi govt from doing further damage to Indian democracy and India’s social fabric,” Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was also present at the meeting, was quoted as saying news agency ANI.
The crucial opposition meeting called by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the upcoming President election got underway on Wednesday at the Constitution Club of India in New Delhi. Leaders of 17 parties including TMC, Congress, CPI, CPI(M), CPIML, RSP, Shiv Sena, NCP, RJD, SP, National Conference, PDP, JD(S), DMK, RLD, IUML and JMM have come together to deliberate upon a name from the opposition camp.
A day ahead of the big meeting, Banerjee had decided to visit NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s residence. Pawar has repeatedly declined the Opposition’s attempt of fielding him as a presidential candidate. According to many reports, the Opposition leaders have reached out to Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopal Krishna Gandhi for the upcoming presidential polls.
Meanwhile, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have decided to give the meeting a miss. While TRS and SAD have declined the meeting offer due to the presence of Congress, BJD has declared that it will take the right decision at the right time, keeping the interest of the people of Odisha in consideration. Earlier today, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi said that his party was not invited to the meeting, while adding that he would have skipped the meeting even if he was invited due to Congress’ presence.
In what may be considered as showing a unified front against the PM Modi government amid Rahul Gandhi’s deposition before the Enforcement Directorate, the Congress has decided to set aside its differences with the TMC and attend the meeting. Mallikarjuna Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala are representing the Congress delegation.The TMC, time and again, has attacked the Congress, calling it a spent force. Earlier, Banerjee had outlined the importance of stitching a non-Congress opposition front against the BJP at the Centre.