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Can Sharad Pawar emerge as the Opposition’s consensus presidential candidate?

NCP chief Sharad Pawar. File

NCP chief Sharad Pawar. File | Photo Credit: EMMANUAL YOGINI

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar could emerge as a consensus candidate for the Presidential polls if other Opposition parties manage to convince him, a source familiar with the developments said on Monday.

Mr. Pawar has not revealed his mind yet but the source cited above said the situation will be clear by Wednesday (June 15) when leaders of the 22 Opposition parties meet to formulate a joint strategy.

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A day after West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee invited Opposition leaders for a meeting in Delhi to formulate a joint strategy for the Presidential polls, on Sunday, Aam Admi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh called on Mr. Pawar in Mumbai.

“The Congress Party is of the opinion that the Nation needs a person as President, who can protect the Constitution, our institutions and citizenry from the ongoing onslaught by the ruling party. This is the need of the hour. ”Randeep SurjewalaCongress spokesman

Hours after the Election Commission announced the presidential poll notification, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had also called Mr. Pawar apart from other leaders such as Ms. Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray etc.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge also met Mr. Pawar soon after Ms. Gandhi made him the key point person to coordinate with other Opposition parties.

As reported by The Hindu on Monday , TMC is said to be pushing for a political person who can also reach out to Opposition parties that have never been a part of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Mr. Pawar fits the description as he is known to share cordial relations with the Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrashekar Rao as well as Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“It’s not about winning or losing but putting up a fight for the principles we stand for. Parties like AAP or TRS won’t support a Congress candidate. But if Mr. Pawar agrees, it’s game on,” said an Opposition leader, who didn’t wish to be quoted.

While the Opposition parties are united in their desire for putting up a strong fight, they seemed divided on who should take the lead.

After the TMC chief invited other Opposition leaders to the June 15 meet, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury called the move ‘unilateral’.

Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala too issued a carefully crafted statement in which he said the Congress, along with others, can take the process forward.

“The Congress Party is of the opinion that the Nation needs a person as President, who can protect the Constitution, 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, 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.


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Printable version | Jun 14, 2022 7:37:51 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/can-sharad-pawar-emerge-as-the-oppositions-consensus-presidential-candidate/article65524453.ece