As the Opposition on Wednesday held its first meeting on the Presidential election, the ruling BJP reached out to several parties across the political spectrum to build a consensus choice for the top constitutional post with senior party leader Rajnath Singh speaking to Sharad Pawar, Mallikarjun Kharge, Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Naveen Patnaik, sources said.
Singh also talked to BJP ally and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and YSR Congress leader Jagan Reddy.
BJP president JP Nadda, who along with Singh, has been authorised by the party to speak to leaders from across the political spectrum on the poll, spoke to National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah.
He also spoke to leaders from National People’s Party (NPP), Naga People’s Front (NPF), All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) and Independents.
Singh made the calls to leaders from Opposition parties Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress (TMC), Samajwadi Party (SP), Biju Janata Dal (BJD) among others and enquired from them about their preference for the next President.
Incidentally, Kharge, Banerjee, Pawar and Yadav were part of the Opposition meeting on the poll, where the NCP supremo Pawar emerged as the top choice for the combine.
He, however, declined the proposal for contesting the poll in which the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has a clear numerical advantage over the Opposition.
Singh has also called Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to deliberate upon the presidential polls, the sources said. The Opposition leaders asked Singh about BJP-led NDA’s nominee for the presidential election, they said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has authorised Singh and party chief J P Nadda to consult with other parties for building consensus on a presidential candidate.
During the meeting convened by Banerjee, at least two more names emerged — National Conference (NC) supremo Farooq Abdullah and former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi — after NCP leader Pawar declined to be a candidate for the post of President.
The election for the President will be held on July 18, while the nomination process begins on Wednesday. Incumbent Ram Nath Kovind’s term ends on July 24.
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