A day after West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee invited Opposition leaders to attend a meeting in Delhi on June 15 for the upcoming Presidential election, Trinamool leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien on Sunday reached out to the Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal.
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Though the details of the discussion are not known, the Trinamool Congress is said to be keen on putting up a senior leader as the Opposition’s presidential candidate.
Mr. Kharge has been appointed as the key points person by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to coordinate with Opposition leaders to decide on a common Presidential candidate.
However, Ms. Banerjee wrote a letter to her counterparts in Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray and M.K. Stalin in Tamil Nadu. She had also written letters to other top Opposition leaders like NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
This prompted Congress communications chief Randeep Surjewala to issue a statement late on Friday to assert that Ms. Gandhi had already spoken to Opposition leaders, including Ms. Banerjee.
“The Congress party is of the opinion that the nation needs a person as the President who can protect the Constitution of our country, our institutions and citizenry from the ongoing onslaught by the ruling party. This is the need of the hour. While the Congress party has not suggested a particular name for the President, we owe it to our people to elect a President, who can apply a healing touch to its fractured social fabric and defend our Constitution,” Mr. Surjewala had said in the statement.