Race to Rashtrapati Bhawan: Shiv Sena says Opposition clueless after Sharad Pawar opted out — ‘should have been more serious’

“If not Pawar, then who? Had the work to find answers to this question done six months back, then that would have displayed the Opposition’s seriousness for this election,” the party said.

At the recently held meeting, Pawar's name was again proposed by all opposition parties.

The Shiv Sena’s dissatisfaction with the Opposition’s potential list of presidential candidates came to the fore in a recent scathing editorial piece in the party’s mouthpiece ‘Saamana’. The party was also shocked that the Opposition camp had no other valuable suggestion apart from NCP chief Sharad Pawar, while wondering why they did not give any serious thought to this problem six months ago.

“If not Pawar, then who? Had the work to find answers to this question done six months back, then that would have displayed the Opposition’s seriousness for this election,” the party said.

Incidentally, Pawar has ruled himself out of the presidential race time and again. At the recently held meeting, which was also attended by 17 opposition parties including Shiv Sena, called by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Pawar’s name was again proposed by all parties. Even after him declining the offer, several parties asked him to reconsider his proposal. Finally, Pawar took to Twitter after the meeting to clearly state his intentions of not fighting the upcoming presidential polls.

While pointing out that many Opposition leaders are avoiding the presidential polls, but there will be many takers for the prime ministerial role in 2024, the party wrote, “If the Opposition cannot field a strong candidate for the presidential polls, then how can it give a capable prime minister in 2024. This question will come to people’s mind.”

In the Opposition meeting, Mamata Banerjee, while saying that the leaders will go with one consensus candidate, reportedly floated the names of National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi for the post.

Reacting to this, Sena said that the “regular names that crop up during the presidential polls” don’t showcase the strong personality required to run for the presidential elections.

Pointing out that Banerjee had said that the President elections were like a warm-up before the general elections, the party said, “The Opposition must take it (the presidential polls contest) seriously.”

The party further stated that even the ruling BJP is unlikely to field a “bright” candidate this time around.

According to reports, Opposition parties will meet again in Mumbai on June 20 or 21 to deliberate upon a candidate’s name for the July 21 President elections.

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