Opposition To Put Up Joint Candidate For Presidential Polls; Sharad Pawar Opts Out Of Race

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New Delhi: The opposition parties have decided to field a joint candidate for the upcoming Presidential polls.  Sharad Pawar’s name was again proposed as a nominee for the presidential elections, but the NCP chief declined the offer.

The decision was taken in the opposition leaders’ meeting called by TMC leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the Constitution Club of India here.

Maharastra leader Sharad Pawar declined to be the opposition’s presidential candidate, reiterating the stance he had made earlier even as all the opposition leaders wanted him to contest.

According to reports, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh rang up many opposition leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, Mamata Banerjee, and Akhilesh Yadav, on Wednesday and requested them to suggest names for the presidential elections.

When asked about the name proposed by the government for the presidential polls, there was no reply, and hence the opposition leaders were non-committal in their responses, reports said.

At least 16 parties including Congress, CPI, CPI(M), CPIML, RSP, Shiv Sena, NCP, RJD, SP, National Conference, PDP, JD(S), DMK, RLD, IUML and JMM attended the opposition meeting convened by Mamata to deliberate on consensus presidential candidate.

However, TRS, AAP, SAD and BJD skipped it. Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, NC’s Omar Abdullah, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav, DMK’s T.R. Baalu, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi, RJD’s Manoj Jha and others attended the meeting to discuss a common opposition candidate for the President.

Earlier, Mamata Banerjee personally received former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, Pawar, Akhilesh Yadav, Mehbooba Mufti and Congress leaders at the meeting venue. On Tuesday, Banerjee met NCP chief Sharad Pawar and CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury to deliberate on the issue of Presidential elections. Yechury along with D. Raja of the CPI and P.C. Chacko met Pawar where NCP leader Praful Patel was also present.

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