Presidential polls: Oppn agrees to field common candidate; Mamata suggests names of Farooq, Gopalkrishna Gandhi

Leaders of several Opposition parties on Wednesday agreed to field a common candidate against the NDA in the forthcoming Presidential elections.

Addressing a presser, TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who convened the joint conference of political parties, said: “Several parties were here today. We have decided we will choose only one consensus candidate. Everybody will give this candidate our support.”

“We will consult with others. This is a good beginning. We sat together after several months, and we will do it again,” CM Banerjee added.

At the meeting, opposition leaders urged NCP supremo Sharad Pawar to be the joint opposition candidate for the election. However, he once again declined the offer. RSP’s NK Premchandran stated that Banerjee also suggested the names of Farooq Abdullah and Gopalkrishna Gandhi as possible opposition candidates, news agency PTI reported.

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Leaders of the Congress, Samajwadi Party, NCP, DMK, RJD and the Left parties attended the over two-hour-long meeting called by the TMC supremo, while the AAP, SAD, AIMIM, TRS and Odisha’s ruling BJD skipped it.

Leaders of Shiv Sena, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), National Conference, PDP, JD(S), RSP, IUML, RLD and the JMM were among those who attended the meeting. The election would be held on July 18.

The leaders who attended the meeting included Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel of the NCP, Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala of the Congress, H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy of the JD(S), Akhilesh Yadav of the SP, Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP and Omar Abdullah of the National Conference.

Last week, Banerjee had invited leaders of 19 political parties, including seven chief ministers, for the meeting in the national capital to produce a “confluence of opposition voices” for the July 18 election.

With inputs from PTI

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