Presidential election: Sonia, Rahul reach out to opposition to discuss consensus nominee
In a bid to dent the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) winning streak post 2014 general elections after its landslide victories in the recently-concluded state Assembly polls, opposition parties are now exploring the possibility of fielding a united opposition candidate in July’s Presidential election.
Congress sources said that both Sonia and party vice president have reached out to opposition leaders in order to chalk out a strategy for the same.
While Rahul Gandhi spoke on the phone with Samawjadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, Sonia called up Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, Congress sources said.
As per the people cited above, Sonia may soon meet BSP supremeo Mayawati and DMK working president MK Stalin to bring them on board.
The last few days have seen several opposition parties leaders flocking to Delhi to meet Sonia and Rahul to discuss the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the opposition parties if they agree to bury their differences and come under one umbrella.
Last week, JD(U) leaders Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, (CPI) leader D Raja, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had met Sonia separately in Delhi.
Sources, however, said that parties have so far not reached to a point where they can unanimously agree on one name.
The talks regarding the names are still underway, they said.
Today’s development comes in the backdrop of a May 1 meeting of opposition parties at an event to mark late socialist Madhu Limaya’s 95th birth anniversary. During the meeting, several opposition leaders including Digvijaya, Sharad Yadav, Yechury had called for forging a grand alliance to challenge the BJP in the presidential election.
The opposition strongly believes that a dent to the BJP’s chances of getting their man of choice appointed to the top constitutional post would come as a huge setback for the ruling coalition ahead of 2019 polls.
Presidential polls are scheduled for July this year. Incumbent Pranab Mukherjee so far appears unlikely to contest for a second term.