Oppn discusses prez poll issue

BJP leaders to meet Sonia, Yechury

Oppn discusses prez poll issue

Leaders of nine Opposition parties met on Wednesday to discuss issues related to the upcoming Presidential election.

The meeting was held on a day the government indicated that its ministers would solicit their support for a broad-based consensual candidate.

Senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge convened a meeting of leaders of nine Opposition parties, including the NCP, CPM, TMC, JD(U), RJD, SP and the BSP, to discuss the broad contours of the election.

Azad said no names were discussed during the hour-long meeting, and the dominant view was that the government should reach out to them.

Left, RJD want to contest
The Left parties and RJD chief Lalu Prasad were insistent on a contest and were of the view that the government wanted to catch the Opposition off-guard, giving them little time to field a joint candidate.

The names of senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi are being talked about as possible joint Opposition candidates.

“All Opposition parties are totally united,” Azad told reporters when asked whether the government was trying to divide the Opposition.

Union ministers Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu are scheduled to hold separate meetings with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Friday.
 
Singh, Naidu and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have been tasked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consult political parties on the presidential elections. Naidu has also sought meetings with NCP chief Sharad Pawar and BSP chief Mayawati.

However, the ministers were unlikely to share names of any probable candidates with the Opposition leaders but only elicit their views on the election.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission issued the notification for the Presidential election on Wednesday.
The last date for filing nomination papers is June 28. The government’s candidate is expected to file the nomination papers before June 24, when Modi embarks on this two-day tour of the US.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure ends on July 24.

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