Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday said the government had not come forward with any names for the Presidential election scheduled to be held on July 17. Azad said this after a meeting between the government and the Opposition. Union Minister Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury in New Delhi to discuss a possible consensus candidate.
“Government has not come forward with any name for presidential poll,” Azad said.
The meeting lasted for 30 minutes. However, it was not immediately known as to what transpired at the meeting. The meeting comes barely two days after a sub group of opposition leaders constituted by Gandhi met in Azad’s Parliament chamber to discuss the opposition strategy. The meeting had decided to wait for the government proposal on the matter before taking a further view.
The BJP has formed a three-member committee, including Singh, Naidu and Union Minister Arun Jaitley, to zero in on a Presidential candidate. The Shiv Sena has suggested the name of RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat for president. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge denied supporting the RSS chief. Speaking to news agency ANI, Kharge said, “We are a secular party. We will never support Mohan Bhagwat; neither will the other parties. His name is being recommended by the Shiv Sena. We don’t know what their connection is with the BJP. However, we will choose a candidate from a secular party.”
President Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure comes to an end next month on July 24, with the Presidential election to take place on July 17. According to Election Commission, June 28 will be the last date to file nomination for candidates, with the result to be declared on July 20.
(With inputs from PTI)