Presidential candidate of opposition as Pawar? Sanjay Singh meets NCP chief

The contest for the Presidential election is emerging as the likely consensus candidate of the opposition of veteran politician, former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar.

Mallikarjun Kharge met Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh at his residence in Mumbai, after discussing the possibility of like-minded parties coming together to share Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s message.

The meeting between Singh and Pawar took place at 4 pm and lasted for around 30 minutes.

When asked whether Pawar’s name as the presidential candidate was discussed in the meeting, a source said, “We want him to contest.”

While the NCP chief himself has remained silent about pitching himself for the top post, sources indicated he was “positive” though “no decision” has been taken so far.

It may be recalled that Gandhi had already discussed the issue of Presidential election with Pawar and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee A meeting of 22 opposition parties has been called in the national capital on June 15 to discuss a joint opposition candidate for the presidential election. This includes the Chief Ministers of Delhi, Kerala, Odisha, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Punjab.

Banerjee has also invited the presidents of 10 political parties, including the Congress, NCP, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, general secretaries of the Communist Party. India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) and former Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and former PM Deve Gowda.

However, it remains to be seen how many of these leaders will actually attend the meeting. For example, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to be in Punjab on June 15.

The opposition parties have 5,40,000 votes, while the National Democratic Alliance has 4,90,000 votes. However, staying cohesive is a hindrance for opposition leaders, especially as many of them are struggling for leadership space within the opposition.

Parties like Biju Janata Dal, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Yuvajana Shramik Rythu Congress Party may once again put themselves up to give advantage to the NDA.

The elections for the next President of India will be held on 18 July and the counting of votes will take place on 21 July.

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