Ahead of the Presidential elections, opposition leaders from all the 17 parties are set to meet on June 21 in Delhi to finalise the name of a joint candidate and chalk out a strategy for the upcoming polls. The meeting will be chaired by NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
According to media reports, the opposition parties will have to unanimously arrive at a consensus as Sharad Pawar has refused to contest as a candidate.
Former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi, who is also Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, and former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah are in the race for the opposition’s Presidential poll candidate. However, the main opposition party, Congress, does not have a name till now and has decided to back up the decision of the opposition.
In a meeting on June 17, Congress reiterated that when the candidate’s name will be finalised, they will not put forth anyone’s name, rather will back the “Opposition’s unanimous candidate”, reports India Today.
On Wednesday, a meeting of the opposition parties was called by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to field a common candidate representation all the parties. In the meeting, a consensus was passed: "In the forthcoming Presidential election which is being held on the 75th anniversary of India's Independence, we have decided to field a common candidate who can truly serve as custodian of the Constitution and stop the Modi government from doing further damage to Indian democracy and India's social fabric."
The Election Commission of India has scheduled the date for the 16th Presidential election on July 18 and the counting of votes would be held on July 21, if needed. A total of 4,809 electors comprising MPs and MLAs will vote to elect Ram Nath Kovind's successor. Kovind’s tenure will be ending on July 24 following which the new President will be sworn in on July 25.