Presidential polls | Pawar meets Mamata, Left party leaders

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee called upon NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his residence in New Delhi on June 14, 2022. Photo: Twitter/@PawarSpeaks

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee called upon NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his residence in New Delhi on June 14, 2022. Photo: Twitter/@PawarSpeaks

Ahead of the Opposition meet on Presidential polls that has been convened by West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday held a series of meetings in Delhi, including one with Ms. Banerjee.

Mr. Pawar ruled himself out of the Presidential race but sources said a shortlist of names will be discussed in the meeting on Wednesday.

The name, however, is likely to be finalised only by June 20.

Ms. Banerjee called on the NCP chief as soon as she landed in Delhi. The contents of the discussions were not known but TMC sources had earlier told The Hindu that they were keen on fielding Mr. Pawar as a consensus candidate or a senior politician with wide acceptability.

The NCP chief, who arrived from Mumbai on Tuesday morning, also had a lunch meeting with Communist Party of India-Marxist’s (CPI-M) Sitaram Yechury and Communist Party of India’s (CPI) D. Raja, in which the leaders are believed to have discussed potential candidates for the July 18 Presidential polls.

Though the Congress and the Left parties were miffed at Ms. Banerjee’s “unilateral” move of inviting 22 Opposition leaders to formulate a joint strategy, both the parties will be a part of her initiative.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, chief whip Jairam Ramesh and general secretary Randeep Surjewala would be representing the Congress.

Also read: Editorial | Known unknowns: On Presidential elections

The Left parties, however, will be nominating their MPs for the meeting, instead of their top leadership.

In a letter to the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr. Yechury stressed the need to hold prior consultations to enable the participation of the maximum number of people instead of “unilaterally announcing the date, time and venue”.

“Your letter mentions ‘a fruitful confluence of opposition voices is the need of the hour’. This could have been better achieved if there had been mutual consultation and a proper time to enable party leaders to reschedule their prior commitments to attend such a meeting. Unfortunately, there were only three days between the receipt of your letter and the date of the meeting,” he said.

Stating that the CPI(M) has consistently championed the need to strengthen secular forces to “safeguard the Constitution and the secular democratic character of the Indian Republic”, Mr. Yechury added, “In line with this, as the issue is to discuss the forthcoming election of the President of India and given the fact that the President is the custodian of the Indian Constitution, the CPI(M) will be represented at the meeting by the leader of our group in the Rajya Sabha, Shri Elamaram Kareem.”

The Left leaders also separately met Dravida Munnetra Kazagham’s (DMK) Lok Sabha leader T. R. Baalu, who is likely to represent his party at Wednesday’s meet.

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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 12:50:16 pm |