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Opposition to hold meeting on 22 June for discussion on Prez candidate

The opposition parties will meet on 22 June to decide upon their candidate against Ram Nath Kovind for the Presidential Polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah announced, Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA candidate for the upcoming Presidential Polls due on 17 July. Though BJP claim that the name was decided as a consensus candidate, many opposition parties deny to agree on this.

Most of the parties said that, earlier in the week when different members of the 3 member committee met different party leaders, they never disclosed the name of Ram Nath Kovind. The opposition parties also allege the NDA for playing tactfully by not disclosing their candidate name and trying to gather names of possible candidate from different parties.

In response to the announcement, rejecting NDA’s presidential nominee, the Opposition parties have decided to meet on June 22 in the national capital to present a more impressive counter-candidate.

Opinion of Congress:

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “BJP has taken a unilateral decision. They informed us after announcing this decision so there is no scope for consensus now. We were not expecting this from the ruling party.” Azad said the ruling party should have built consensus before announcing the candidate. He also termed the BJP’s efforts to reach out to the opposition through its senior leaders as a formality and a PR exercise.

Opinion of TMC:

Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee said: “I am not for a moment saying that Kovind is unfit for the post. I have spoken to two or three Opposition leaders, they too are surprised. There are other big Dalit leaders in the country.” “Someone of the stature of Pranab Mukherjee, or even Sushma Swaraj, or Advani ji may have been made the candidate.” She even expressed her surprise at the BJP’s decision, claiming “I have not heard his name ever before. I do not know him. I could recognise him only after he was mentioned as the Bihar Governor.”

Banerjee stressed on the importance of the pivotal role of the President. She said that the President plays a vital role in protecting the nation and the constitution. It should have been someone like Pranab Mukherjee, Lal Krishna Advani or Sushma Swaraj who is a constitutional expert and knows our country well. She further added that “In order to support someone, we must know the person. Candidate should be someone who will be beneficial for the country. Opposition will meet on June 22, then only we can announce our decision.”

Opinion of CPM and BSP:

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said non-NDA parties would take a decision “keeping in mind the country’s history that the ruling and Opposition parties contested the polls on all occasion except once”.  BSP’s Mayawati, while stating that her party could not possibly be negative to a Dalit nominee, said “our stand will be positive provided Opposition doesn’t field any Dalit for the top post”. SP said it would consult UPA before taking a final call.

Opinion of Shiv Sena:

Shiv Sena also however remained non-committal on whether or not it will support the BJPs nominee for the Presidential election, Ram Nath Kovind. The name of Kovind has been chosen with an eye on Dalit votes,” Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said. Further adding he said that “We have no issue if you make anyone President; let him work for everybody and the Sena would support it.” Thackeray maintained his firm attitude of candidature of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat or eminent agro-scientist M.S. Swaminathan for the President’s post. Though he said that he would call a meeting of the Shiv Sena to discuss the issue before taking a final decision.

Opinion of CPI:

CPI General Secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy said that the Opposition parties must put up their candidate against Ram Nath Kovind. He also told that they would put up a contest against any RSS candidate. He further added that, “anybody from RSS rank will further divide the country. The three-year rule of the BJP government has divided the country. Anybody from RSS ranks will further divide the country.” CPI’s D Raja told that a decision will be taken after a meeting later this week.

Meira Kumar can be the proposed candidate from the opposition side as she is also a dalit leader. However Shiv Sena seems to firm on their proposal of either Mohan Bhagwat or MS Swaminathan. The final decision is likely to be taken after the opposition parties meet on 22 June.

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