Opposition fields Yashwant Sinha as President candidate
New Delhi, Jun 21: Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha has been named as the joint Opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential polls.
"In the forthcoming Presidential elections, we have decided to elect a common candidate and stop the Modi government from doing further damage. At a subsequent meeting held today we have chosen Yashwant Sinha as a common candidate. We appeal to all political parties to vote for Yashwant Sinha," said Jairam Ramesh, Congress's communication chief, reading from a joint statement by the opposition.
"We regret Modi govt made no serious effort to have consensus on prez candidate," the statement said.
"We appeal to BJP, its allies to support Yashwant Sinha as prez so we can have a worthy 'rashtrapati' elected unopposed," the opposition statement said.
"Unity of opposition parties forged for presidential poll will be further consolidated in months ahead," the statement added.
The BJP is tight-lipped about the NDA's candidate for the 16th presidential election scheduled for July 18. The result of the election will be announced on July 21.
On June 15, TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had called a meeting to discuss the candidate for the July 18 presidential poll, which was attended by 17 parties, including the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Left parties, and Shiv Sena among others.
Pawar had declined the offer saying he was happy to continue his "service for the wellbeing of the common people". Abdullah said Jammu and Kashmir was passing through a critical phase and his efforts were required to "navigate these uncertain times."
The selection of the joint Opposition candidate is a tightrope walk as diverse views of the regional satraps make it difficult to reach a consensus. Last week, the Shiv Sena had sought to dismiss the candidature of Gandhi and Abdullah, describing them as "regular names that crop up during the presidential polls".
The Shiv Sena, a new entrant to the Opposition camp, had said in an editorial in party mouthpiece 'Saamna' that Abdullah and Gandhi were not the "strong points" in the Opposition alliance and lacked the "personality" to make the presidential election competitive.
Kovind's tenure as President will end on July 24 and his successor will assume office the next day.