Presidential election 2022: Opposition decides to field joint candidate

Opposition leaders of 17 political who gathered in Delhi at the invitation of TMC supremo and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to discuss the Presidential polls have decided to field a common candidate

IANS Photo
IANS Photo

Ashlin Mathew

The Opposition leaders of 17 political parties who gathered in the national capital at the invitation of Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss the Presidential polls have decided to field a common candidate. The next meeting will be held on June 20 or 21 in New Delhi again.

The presidential polls will take place on July 18 and the results will be declared on July 21.

Reading out the common statement, Sudheendra Kulkarni said, “Opposition leaders adopted a resolution to field a common candidate in the forthcoming Presidential poll. A candidate who can truly serve as the custodian of the Constitution and stop the Modi government from doing further damage to Indian democracy and India’s social fabric.”

The two-hour long meeting, which was presided over by Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, was attended by Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala. Shiv Sena was represented by Priyanka Chaturvedi and Subhash Desai; DMK by TR Baalu, JD(S) by HD Deve Gowda and HD Kumaraswamy, SP by Akhilesh Yadav, RJD by Manoj Jha, PDP by Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference by Omar Abdullah, RSP by NK Premachandran and CPI by Binoy Viswam. Praful Patel and PC Chacko of the NCP were there along with Pawar. Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) also participated in the meeting.

Pawar indicated at the beginning of the meeting that he would not be willing to contest the Presidential elections. Mamata Banerjee then suggested the names of Farooq Abdullah and Gopalkrishna Gandhi as the Presidential candidates from the Opposition.

Even as Farooq Abdullah’s name was suggested, his son Omar turned it down even as other parties said that this was not the time to discuss names.

At the press conference after the meeting, Banerjee said the main thing was that all important opposition parties had attended it. "We will consult with Sharad ji and others to finalise a candidate," she said.

“In our country bulldozing is going on. In our democratic system all institutions are being misused politically, which is why it is required that all of us sit together more often,” she added.

After the meeting, Kharge stated that the Congress party would play a constructive role in ensuring that the parties which had assembled would arrive at a consensus candidate in the next few days.

“Let us be proactive and not be reactive. The Congress Party has no particular candidate in mind. It will sit together with everyone and arrive at a candidate acceptable to all. Such a candidate, we believe, should be someone committed to upholding the Constitution of India, its values, principles and provisions in letter and spirit, someone committed to guaranteeing that all institutions of our democracy function without fear or favour and someone committed to being a powerful force for furthering social justice and empowerment,” added Kharge.

Banerjee had last week invited leaders of 19 political parties, including eight chief ministers, for a meeting in the national capital to produce a "confluence of opposition voices" for the presidential election scheduled on July 18.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) skipped the meeting which was held at the Constitution Club, besides the Aam Aadmi Party, TRS, Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal and Sikkim Democratic Party. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP, the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh, was allegedly not invited. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said he was not invited to the meeting called by Trinamool Congress (TMC).

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Published: 15 Jun 2022, 7:19 PM