Seventeen Opposition parties convened at a meeting called by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and said they will meet again next week to select a consensus candidate after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar declined to contest the poll. Six Opposition parties skipped the event, where Banerjee also proposed the names of former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, and former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as possible candidates.
I sincerely appreciate the leaders of opposition parties for suggesting my name as a candidate… However, I have humbly declined the proposal of my candidature.I am happy to continue my service for the well-being of the common man, Pawar tweeted.
Meanwhile, the BJP began the consultation exercise on evolving a consensus name for the presidential election with senior party leader Rajnath Singh speaking to a number of key opposition leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav, sources said on Wednesday.
The BJP authorised Singh and party’s chief J.P. Nadda to consult with other parties for building consensus on a presidential candidate.
Singh made the calls to Kharge, Banerjee and Yadav besides some other leaders on a day when leaders of 17 opposition parties met in New Delhi to build a consensus on a joint opposition candidate.
Rajnath Singh has also called Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to deliberate upon the presidential polls, the sources said.