Committee Could be Formed for Joint Prez Nominee, Says Mamata 

As many as 17 parties came together for a luncheon hosted by Congress’ Sonia Gandhi at the Parliament House library.

Updated
India
2 min read
Leaders from the opposition camp met on Friday to decide on a joint presidential candidate. (Photo: PTI)

Speaking after a joint Opposition meet on Friday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that if opposition parties could not agree on a unanimous candidate for the upcoming presidential election, a "small committee" could be formed to help them select a suitable nominee.

In a show of unity against the BJP-led NDA government, the Opposition parties came together under the initiative of Congress President Sonia Gandhi to contemplate on the possibility of fielding a joint candidate from the Opposition camp.

Bitter rivals, including the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), as well as the Trinamool Congress and the Left turned unlikely partners, as 17 parties came together at the luncheon hosted by Gandhi at the Parliament House library.

Apart from Banerjee, the BSP's Mayawati and the Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav, the lunch was attended by NCP leader Sharad Pawar, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and DMK's Kanimozhi.

Stating that the the NDA had "failed" on all fronts, Lalu Prasad said:

Its only achievement is that it has set the Pakistan flag fluttering in Kashmir for the first time after independence.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who was expected to attend the meeting, had to skip the meeting due to a prior engagement, sources said. JD(U) was instead represented by senior party leader Sharad Yadav.

Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s name has been doing the rounds as the possible candidate the Opposition could field for the presidential polls that are scheduled to be held in July 2017. There have also been talks of projecting incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee for a second-term.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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