Opposition parties to meet on Presidential candidate today

New Delhi: Major Opposition parties will meet in the capital on Wednesday to decide on a consensus candidate for the presidential election.

The meeting, called by All India Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, will be attended by almost all political parties including Congress, NCP, DMK, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, JDS, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, RJD, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Left parties.

The Opposition camp witnessed a flurry of meetings on Tuesday, where the theme was ‘our numbers were not adding up. Banerjee met NCP supremo Sharad Pawar informally to discuss the July 18 presidential elections. “Two stalwart leaders set the stage for the meeting of all progressive Opposition forces; set to happen tomorrow at the Constitution Club, New Delhi. Our resolve to fight divisive forces grows stronger!” AITC tweeted after the meeting. Banerjee arrived on Tuesday afternoon for Wednesday’s opposition meeting but visited Pawar before going to her Delhi residence.

Pawar also met Left leaders to discuss the Wednesday meet. The Left parties had earlier expressed reservations about attending a meeting called by Banerjee. According to some leaders, Pawar brushed away all suggestions of becoming the presidential candidate of the Opposition camp. However, Pawar has been contemplating ways to reach out to fence sitters, ET has learnt.

A senior leader said the gap between NDA and UPA was too high to bridge. BJD and YSRCP account for 7% votes and both were inclined to vote for the NDA presidential candidate following recent meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Many leaders feel Mr Pawar is the only unifying force, and a common meeting point even among the opposition. NCP doesn’t have presence outside the state to be a rival to any other party. However, he has conveyed to them that he doesn’t want to run,” a senior NCP leader said.

The Left Front mellowed its stand and decided to attend Wednesday’s meet. CPI-M will be represented by Rajya Sabha MP Elamaram Kareem. CPI leader D Raja said, “no names were discussed in the meetings today.”

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