Opposition parties meet on presidential candidate

Elias Hubbard
May 27, 2017

With the intent to promote Opposition unity, the Congress president convened a 17-party meeting, which was attended by the top leadership of various regional and national parties.

A senior BJP leader told this newspaper, "Nitishji has made it clear that he is not interested in being projected as a prime ministerial candidate, this can also be viewed as a signal that the JD (U) could be inching closer to accept Modiji as the Prime Minister for the next elections".

On Friday Congress president Sonia Gandhi presided over an opposition leaders meeting to build a consensus on the next presidential nominee.

Nitish Kumar' s meeting with the Prime Minister is going to be held when speculations are rife about realignments in Bihar.

Yadav said the opposition appeals to the BJP to take the lead and come up with a consensus candidate for the president and the vice president's post, as per traditions, but a consensus between the ruling and opposition sides appears remote.

Referring to the 2002 Presidential elections, Banerjee said that the then-Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had pushed Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's name, and tried to reach a consensus with parties across the political spectrum. The Opposition meet also discussed joint floor coordination during the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament. "If it satisfies all of us, then we can take a look at it", she added.

Banerjee said all the parties were united in criticism of the government over Kashmir, violence in Saharanpur and demonetisation. This has bogged down governance with orders and counter-orders galore from "influential wings", as officers put it.The JD-U officially stated that Kumar was the force behind the meeting of Opposition parties in Delhi - although he, unfortunately, could not attend it.

Asked about another term for incumbent Pranab Mukherjee, she said no names were discussed in the meeting.

Those on the guest list are Lalu Prasad (Rashtriya Janata Dal), Sharad Yadav (Janata Dal-United), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Mayawati (Bahujan Samaj Party), Sharad Pawar (Nationalist Congress Party), H.D. Deve Gowda (Janata Dal-Secular), Mamata Bannerjee (Trinamool Congress), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), Omar Abdullah (National Conference) and M.K. Stalin/Kanimozhi (DMK).

Talking to reporters, Mayawati said the condition of Dalits, people belonging to weaker sections, religious minorities, poor and farmers has deteriorated in the three years of NDA government.

Lalu said the Modi government has failed on all fronts.

"Now the meeting was regarding discussion of strategy for presidential polls".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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