The Congress on Saturday said Opposition parties should rise above their differences and elect a President who can protect the Constitution, institutions and the citizenry from the "ongoing onslaught" by the ruling BJP.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said while his party has not suggested any particular name, "we owe it to our people to elect a President who can apply a healing touch to the fractured social fabric and defend our Constitution".
"The time is ripe to rise above our differences for the sake of our nation and its people. Discussions have to be open-minded and in keeping with this spirit. We believe that the Congress along with other political parties should be taking this discussion forward," he said in a statement.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has reached out and deliberated with NCP leader Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other leaders of anti-BJP parties over the issue of the July 18 poll to elect a successor to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Because of her Covid infection, Ms. Gandhi has deputed Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge to co-ordinate with other leaders.
"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," Mr. Surjewala said.
The term of incumbent President Ram Nath Kovind ends on July 24.
Mr. Kharge has already initiated discussions with many Opposition leaders. He has met Mr. Pawar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray besides holding telephonic discussions with Ms. Banerjee and some other leaders to reach a consensus on a candidate for the post from the Opposition camp.
Ms. Banerjee, on the other hand, has written to all Opposition leaders and convened a meeting on this matter on June 15 in the national capital.