West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawar to coordinate and convene another meeting of the Opposition parties in a week.
New Delhi: According to reports, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar was asked by the Opposition leaders to become the Presidential candidate but he has refused. The members then designated West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawar to coordinate and convene another meeting of the Opposition parties in a week.
Sources also said all the Opposition parties have agreed to have one candidate for the presidential polls. “A candidate who can truly serve as custodian of the Constitution and stop the Modi government from doing further damage to Indian democracy and India’s social fabric,” said Sudheendra Kulkarni.
Speaking on the occasion, Mamata Banerjee said, “Several parties were here today (Wednesday). We have decided we will choose only one candidate. Everybody will support this candidate. We will consult with others. This is a good beginning. We sat together after several months, and we will do it again.”
During the meeting, Mallikarjun Kharge said, “I am aware that many of the parties around this table compete with each other in assembly elections. But that has not prevented this meeting from taking place. Each one of us has taken a larger national view and come here for a bigger cause. Let this spirit continue.”
With some parties, including the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) skipping the Opposition meeting called by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, here’s a look at the leaders and parties that attended the meeting at New Delhi’s Constitution Club to hold discussions on the Presidential polls.
According to reports, as many as 17 Opposition parties have attended the meeting. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party, T R Baalu of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Manoj Jha and A D Singh of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Subhash Desai from Shiv Sena H D Kumaraswamy and H D Deve Gowda of Janata Dal (Secular), Congress leaders Mallikarjuna Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala and Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party. The meeting is also being attended by Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Yadav and others.
In a letter to the Opposition leaders, Mamata Banerjee had written, “The Presidential elections are around the corner, presenting the perfect opportunity for all progressive opposition parties to reconvene and deliberate on the future course of Indian politics. The election is monumental because it gives legislators the opportunity to participate in deciding the Head of our State who is the custodian of our democracy. At a time when our democracy is going through troubling times, I believe that a fruitful confluence of opposition voices is the need of the hour; to echo the deprived and unrepresented communities.”