Meeting on presidential polls remains inconclusive

| Updated: Jun 17, 2017 04:19 IST

New Delhi [India], June 16 (ANI): The first meeting between the government and the opposition on presidential elections remained inconclusive today as no name was discussed by either side. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naiduon Friday met Communist Party of India (CPI) leaders D. Raja and Sudhakar Reddy at the latter's party office over Presidential elections. Speaking to the reporters here, CPI leader Sudhakar Reddy said, "On behalf of the three-member committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-- Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu met us today after meeting various political parties but didn't make any particular proposal. They only wanted a 'consensus candidate' asking who would be best suited. Only after being proposed from the government or from the ruling party, we can take a decision." Meanwhile, another CPI leader D. Raja said, "We have not proposed any name nor they have." Naidu earlier in the day spoke to Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav and Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders Ram Gopal Yadav and Naresh Agrawal over phone on Presidential elections. Naidu also met senior Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Chandra Mishra in this regard. Later in the day, Naidu met Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and discussed Presidential elections. Meanwhile, two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi went and met the Union Ministers in this regard. Since Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is on a four-day official visit to South Korea, so Rajnath and Naidu are leaving no stone unturned to woo the Opposition. The duo held discussion with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her party colleagues Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge. After the meeting, Naidu said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah want a consensus before the candidate for the post of president is finalised. Naidu explained the twin objectives of the consultation process were to have the benefit of the views and suggestions of various parties in the matter and also to seek their support in the election. After exchange of views with the grand old party cadre, Naidu and Singh held discussion with Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders Sitraram Yechury, Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat. Naidu has already met Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar over the Presidential election. According to reports, the BJP committee is holding discussions with all parties as they are trying to finalise a consensus candidate for Presidential poll before Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs for foreign tour on June 24. The BJP was forced to form a panel for parleys with the Opposition as Sonia constituted a sub-group of the Opposition parties for the Presidential election to create troubled waters for the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for the country's coveted post. Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, TMC leader Derek O'Brien, Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav, BSP's Satish Chandra Mishra, DMK leader R. S. Bharathi and NCP's Praful Patel are part of the sub-group. The meeting comes barely two days after a sub group of opposition leaders met in Parliament House to discuss the opposition strategy. The meeting had decided to wait for the government proposal on the matter before taking a further view. The election for the next President of India is to be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee will demit the office on July 25. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued the notification in this regard and the process of the nomination has started that will continue till June 28. (ANI)

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