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Opposition scrambles to field joint Prez candidate

Several Opposition parties held consultations in the National Capital Wednesday, at the initiative of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, to evolve a consensus on a joint candidate for the upcoming Presidential election. Insiders claimed after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar refused to be the candidate, the names of Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and former diplomat Gopalkrishna Gandhi and former J&K chief minister and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah cropped up. It was learned that the Opposition leaders will again meet on June 21 to finalize the common candidate for the Presidential Poll.

Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh, and Randeep Singh Surjewala, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, NC’s Omar Abdullah, DMK’s T.R. Balu, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi, RJD leaders Manoj Jha and some other leaders attended the meeting held at Constitution Club, New Delhi to discuss possible common Opposition candidates.

The notable absentees at the meeting were the TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti), AAP (Aam Aadmi Party), Akali Dal, YSRCP, Biju Janata Dal, and Sikkim Democratic Front. About 17 parties have attended the meeting called by the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The decision by some major regional parties such as the TRS, BJD, and AAP to skip Wednesday’s meeting called by Mamata Banerjee has cheered the ruling BJP.