Mamata Banerjee, Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress
West Bengal CM and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee flatly denied that her party had anything to do with the incidents in Islampur and Chopra in Uttar Dinajpur | File photo

Presidential polls: 17 parties attend Mamata’s mega meet; five skip

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A crucial meeting of Opposition parties, convened by Mamata Banerjee to build a consensus on fielding a joint candidate against the NDA in the presidential election, began in New Delhi on Wednesday with leaders of at least 17 parties in attendance.

Leaders of the Congress, Samajwadi Party, NCP, DMK, RJD and the Left parties attended the meeting called by the Trinamool Congress supremo, while the AAP, SAD, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), YSRCP and Odisha’s ruling BJD skipped it.

Leaders of Shiv Sena, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), National Conference, PDP, JD(S), RSP, IUML, RLD and the JMM attended the meeting, which took place on a day the nomination for the presidential election began.

Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel of the NCP, Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala of the Congress, H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S), Akhilesh Yadav of the SP, Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP, Omar Abdullah of the National Conference were among the prominent leaders in the meeting.

Also Read: How BJP is becoming its own dangerous enemy

The meeting began at 3 pm.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee last week invited leaders of 19 political parties, including seven chief ministers, for a meeting in the national capital to produce a confluence of opposition voices for the election on July 18.

A day ahead of the meeting, Banerjee and Left party leaders met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his residence separately to try and convince him to be the common opposition candidate for the top constitutional post.

With numbers on its side — the ruling NDA has about half the votes of the electoral college — and the possible support of fence-sitters like the BJD, AIADMK and YSRCP, the NDA candidate will likely sail through the contest.

Also read: Was it aimed at reining in hardliners? Decoding Mohan Bhagwat’s speech

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