CPI(M) gives Govt. June 20 as 'deadline' to declare Prez candidate

Rashtrapati Bhavan

Incidentally, word got out from the BJP that Naidu and Singh would be meeting Sonia and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to push ahead with their plans on Friday while Singh would be meeting Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

Union Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, the third member of the committee formed by Amit Shah to hold parleys with the Opposition parties, was overseas and returned to the capital only on Saturday morning.

In the evening, Mr Naidu met Samajwadi party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra. The election is next year and the BJP has already shown that its battle ready by anointing its permanent disruptor, 74-year-old BS Yeddyurappa, as its Chief Ministerial face and getting SM Krishna to defect from the Congress. Shah recently said that Yeddyurappa will be the Chief Ministerial candidate despite the fact that he will be 75 at the time of voting and hence, by the BJP's own standards, ineligible for electoral politics. "But nothing of that kind happened", he said. After three to four days, nomination will begin.

Countering the opinion that the opposition should support the ruling alliance's candidate since it has the people's mandate, Yechury said the NDA had polled 39 per cent votes during the 2014 general polls as against 61 per cent of the opposition. We were expecting them to disclose the name so that we can discuss it in our party and other opposition parties.

The meeting lasted for 30 minutes.

However, given Modi's style to spring surprises while naming a person for top positions, even senior BJP leaders including ministers are not able to figure out who that person could be.

AIR correspondent reports that the two leaders also had meetings with BJP veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi at their residences in New Delhi. The Congress's argument was how could there be a consensus without a name being taken on the discussion table.

One has to wait for exactly one more week to know who is going to be the next President of India.


Stepping out from the almost 30-minute meeting, Yechury told media persons that the BJP panel would meet them again.

It was suggested by senior BJP leaders that a decision or the announcement of NDA's presidential candidate can't be done prior to 22 June.

The opposition leaders were told that the government and the BJP would like to finalise the candidate for the presidential poll before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves on a three-nation trip on June 24.

The two ministers had also independently spoken to former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, besides contacting Nitish Kumar, Sharad Pawar and Chandrababu Naidu. Later, the Congress filed one set of nomination papers for him, signed by Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh with 60 other proposers.

"Is it better to seek their suggestions and then decide, or decide first and then ask for suggestions? he asked, rhetorically".

"They (BJP leaders) said the government wants our cooperation".

Congress senior spokesperson Ajay Maken told reporters that it would be "good" if there was a consensus on the issue. A source said Gehlot's name for vice-president's post is virtually sealed but Modi has to take a final call on the presidential candidate. If it is the Opposition which will tell us that they have a candidate, then it does not make sense. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2002 was successful in building a broad consensus over the surprise name of APJ Abdul Kalam. "They did not propose any name", he said, adding that the Left has been insisting on a person with "impeccable secular credentials" for the top post.

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