Presidential Election: Gandhi Says No; Ex BJP Man Next On List

| Updated: 20 June, 2022 5:59 pm IST

NEW DELHI: In an interesting twist to the opposition’s quest for a Presidential poll candidate, former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) man Yashwant Sinha emerged as a consensus candidate.

It was necessitated after Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Monday declined Mamata Banerjee’s offer to contest the Presidential election as their candidate.

Sources told The New Indian that few members of the opposition front had suggested the name of the former finance and external affairs minister after Gandhi’s refusal. Sinha joined TMC in 2021.

The final decision will be taken on Tuesday when the opposition parties will meet at Parliament Annexe to finalise the name of the candidate.

Meanwhile, Gandhi’s decision came days after former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and J&KNC patriarch Farooq Abdullah too declined to be the consensus candidate from the opposition party. Before that, it was Nationalist Congress Party boss Sharad Pawar who refused to fight the elections.

When contacted, the opposition parties refused to comment on the issue. However, the sources told The New Indian that “a closed-door meeting is scheduled at Pawar’s residence between a few opposition leaders. The meeting will happen before tomorrow’s scheduled meeting at Parliament Annexe”.

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Tuesday’s meeting holds significance as it looked like the opposition was struggling to put up a candidate against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party alliance.

Gandhi, former governor of West Bengal and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, in a statement, said, “…I am most grateful to them. But having considered the matter deeply I see that the Opposition’s candidate should be one who will generate a national consensus and a national atmosphere besides Opposition unity. I feel there will be others who will do this far better than I can. And so, I have requested the leaders to give the opportunity to such a person.”

“May India gets a President worthy of the office presaged by Rajaji as the last Governor-General and inaugurated by Dr Rajendra Prasad as our first President,” Gandhi adds in his statement.

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee proposed the names of Farooq Abdullah and Gopalkrishna Gandhi in an opposition party meeting on June 15. The 17 opposition parties, who attended the meeting, had consented to field one joint candidate.

The Election Commission of India announced that the election for the 16th Presidential election will be held on July 18. The counting will be held on July 21 – three days before the end of the official term of current President Ram Nath Kovind.

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