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Posted at: Jun 19, 2017, 5:40 PM; last updated: Jun 19, 2017, 5:40 PM (IST)

Prez poll: Opposition to meet on June 22

Prez poll: Opposition to meet on June 22
Incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure ends on July 24. File photo

K V Prasad

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 19

With the ruling combine declaring its presidential candidate, the Opposition parties on Monday decided to meet here on June 22 to finalise its candidate for the election of the President of India.

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“We will be meeting here on June 22,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told The Tribune, indicating the combined Opposition could change its strategy since the BJP-led NDA announced Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind to be the official candidate of the ruling coalition.

Aware that the move to contest the election has to be a political statement, the Opposition is unlikely to press for its first choice Gopal Krishna Gandhi, a former diplomat.

Already, the Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan said any opposition to Kovind would be construed as being “anti-Dalit”.

Among the names that came up for discussion during the Opposition meeting was that of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. However, a section of the Opposition did not favour a Congress candidate, while another view of Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav was that the Opposition candidate should be a political leader.

Yechury said BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu, when they met him last week, had promised to get back with a name since they did not suggest any candidate in the first meeting. “Today they have announced the name and never got back”.

The election to the office of the President is scheduled for July 17 and June 28 is the last date for the filing of nominations.

Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah called up Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackrey informing him of the decision of the BJP Parliamentary Board and seeking support for the candidate.

“We will discuss the matter in the party tomorrow and decide”, party MP Sanjay Rout said.


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