Opposition leaders of 17 parties are set to hold a meeting at the Delhi residence of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar on Tuesday, 21 June, to decide on a common candidate for the upcoming presidential election.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader D Raja were seen arriving at Pawar's house for the meet.
This comes after another such meeting was called by Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee last week, where various Opposition parties adopted a resolution to field a common candidate for the presidential poll in July.
Ahead of the meeting, senior politician Yashwant Sinha announced on Tuesday morning that he had quit the TMC, hinting that he may be running for president. "Now a time has come when for a larger national cause I must step aside from the party to work for greater opposition unity," he tweeted.
Voting for the next president will be held on 18 July, while the counting of votes will be held on 21 July, as per the Election Commission.
What Had Happened in the Previous Meeting?
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had announced after the meeting of the Opposition on 15 June that he would not be contesting.
Sources told The Quint what transpired at the meeting:
The Congress and the TMC are also willing to work together towards a common consensus.
Congress also wants to discuss further before suggesting more names.
While it was rumoured, Yashwant Sinha's name was not discussed as Congress does not seem keen as of now.
Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge will coordinate between Mamata and Pawar.
The parties that sent their representatives for the meeting included the Congress, the Communist Party of India, the CPI (Marxist), Shiv Sena, Rashtriya Janata Dal, National Conference, People's Democratic Party, Samajwadi Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Indian Union Muslim League, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, and Revolutionary Socialist Party.
K Chandrashekar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were among those which did not attend.
J&K National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and former diplomat Gopalkrishna Gandhi had ruled themselves out of the presidential race this week, creating uncertainty over the Opposition's candidate.