Sharad Pawar refuses to be opposition's nominee for presidential poll
New Delhi, Jun 14: NCP chief Sharad Pawar has refused to be the opposition parties' nominee for the presidential election.
"I have been informed that Pawar will not be the opposition face for the presidential polls, other names are under consideration," CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Tuesday.
Pawar said to have conveyed the decision after meeting with Yechury, CPI general secretary D Raja, and NCP leaders Praful Patel and P C Chacko in Delhi.
Reportedly, Pawar was not keen to enter a battle which he is destined to lose at this point in his political career.
Last week, when senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was in Mumbai in connection with the Rajya Sabha polls, he pitched for Pawar's name as the opposition's joint candidate for the presidential polls. Kharge said the Congress had even consulted the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) over Pawar's candidature.
The Congress has been reaching out to other opposition parties for a common candidate for the presidential polls. The BJP-led NDA is comfortably placed to win the presidential election, with its vote share touching the 50 per cent mark of the total electors.
While there are 776 MPs of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, each having 700 votes, there are 4,033 legislators in states with different votes who will also elect President Ram Nath Kovind's successor.
Though the final list of electors is yet to be notified, the NDA has 440 MPs in its favour while the opposition UPA has around 180 MPs, besides 36 MPs of the TMC who normally support the opposition candidate.
The election to elect a successor to incumbent Ram Nath Kovind would be held on July 18. Kovind had defeated joint opposition nominee Meira Kumar in the last presidential poll.