Next President of India: BJP's candidate by June 20

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The Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA's candidate for the upcoming presidential elections would be announced on June 20, said reports.

Rashtrapati Bhawan

The government formally began its outreach on Friday with the opposition on the presidential election with Union ministers Rajnath Singh and M. Venkaiah Naidu meeting Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The two-member team later met CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat to seek the party's support.

The opposition, however, remained apprehensive as the BJP's two-member team did not disclose the name of their nominee for the President.

"The BJP leaders did not give any name to Congress President Sonia Gandhi but they wanted us to reveal the name of our candidate. We were expecting them to disclose the name so that we can discuss it in our party and other opposition parties," Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was present at the meeting, told the media.

Singh and Naidu are part of the three-member team constituted by Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah for discussion with political parties for the presidential polls.

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They also met with senior L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to discuss the candidate for the next President of India.

It may be recalled that the media was flooded with news of Advani and Joshi being probable candidates. It was also reported that their names had been dropped after the Supreme Court restored conspiracy charges against them in the Babri Masjid case.

Naidu also spoke to NCP chief Sharad Pawar over telephone and held detailed discussions. Later he met CPI General Secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy. Naidu has already talked to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who is also chief of ally TDP, PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss and N. Rangaswamy of the All India Congress (NR) and sought their cooperation.

While the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister has assured Naidu that his party would stand by the decision of the Prime Minister, Pawar told him that he would come to Delhi and discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, BJP ally Shiv Sena floated the name of eminent agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan for the top job if its "first choice" RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat was not acceptable.

OneIndia News with IANS inputs

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