Prez polls: All eyes on Oppn strategy meet on Thursday

SansadTV Bureau
Congress President Sonia Gandhi chairing a meeting of the opposition leaders to discuss the strategy for the upcoming Presidential elections, in New Delhi on  on Friday. Former PM Manmohan Singh, RJD leader Lalu Prasad, JD(U)'s Sharad Yadav, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge and BSP President Mayawati are also seen. Photo-PTi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi chairing a meeting of the opposition leaders to discuss the strategy for the upcoming Presidential elections, in New Delhi on on Friday. Former PM Manmohan Singh, RJD leader Lalu Prasad, JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge and BSP President Mayawati are also seen.
Photo-PTi

The Opposition is holding its crucial meet on June 22 to discuss its options for the upcoming Presidential elections.

On Monday, the NDA allies barring the Shiv Sena, welcomed the nomination of Ram Nath Kovind for the president’s post.

The Congress accused the BJP of taking a “unilateral decision”.

“Congress does not want to comment on this issue as we want to take a unanimous decision with all other opposition parties on the presidential elections. The final call will be taken in a meeting of all opposition parties on June 22,” Congress leader leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said soon after the announcement on Monday.

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was part of the three-member panel formed to hold discussions and build a consensus on a presidential candidate, said the suggestions of opposition parties played a role in the NDA picking Kovind.

“I hope they (opposition) should not have any reason now to oppose the candidature of Ram Nath Kovind because of his background, non-controversial nature, and also sound legal and social background,” he said.

Left was not happy with Kovind’s nomination.

“Now, they have named a person with RSS background. We are against it, but we will have to discuss the issue within the CPI and with other opposition parties. A meeting will be held soon to discuss the same,” CPI national secretary D Raja said.

Sources in the Left parties said the Opposition may field a joint candidate and the issue will be discussed at the June 22 meeting.

Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, ex-Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde; Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader and grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar, Prakash Yashwant, and retired
diplomat Gopal Krishna Gandhi are some of the names the opposition parties are considering.

With both the names suggested by it — RSS chief MohanOdisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), TRS in Telangana and the ruling TDP and opposition YSR Congress party in Andhra Pradesh also backed Kovind’s candidate and pledged their support to him.

Among NDA allies, Sena opposed BJP’s nomination accusing the party of fielding a Dalit leader as President, only to play vote bank politics. Sena will decide on a name in a meeting scheduled on Tuesday evening.

(With inputs from PTI)