‘Meeting of minds a distant dream’: Opposition unity ebbs ahead of presidential election | india-news | Hindustan Times
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‘Meeting of minds a distant dream’: Opposition unity ebbs ahead of presidential election

The presidential election will be held on July 17 and the counting will take place on July 20 before the tenure of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2017 12:37 IST
Srinand Jha
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party vice president Rahul Gandhi and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah after a meeting to discuss the strategy for the upcoming Presidential elections, in New Delhi on May 26.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party vice president Rahul Gandhi and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah after a meeting to discuss the strategy for the upcoming Presidential elections, in New Delhi on May 26.(PTI)

The initial enthusiasm of opposition party leaders about putting up a spirited fight against the BJP nominee for next month’s presidential elections seems to be petering out, as regional satraps have been pulled back into the vortex of intra- and inner-party feuds.

The presidential election will be held on July 17 and the counting will take place on July 20 before the tenure of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24.

“After the electoral steamrolling at the hands of the BJP in repeated elections, the opposition leaders have understood that they need to unite for their own political survival. But a real meeting of minds remains a distant dream,” a senior opposition leader admitted.

Within Uttar Pradesh’s Samajwadi Party (SP), disquiet and resentment prevail over the continued isolation of party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. The senior Yadav neither travelled down to Chennai at the conclave of opposition leaders on DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s 94th birthday nor was he invited to the all-party meeting convened recently by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s estranged uncle Shivpal has revived plans to float a parallel “Samajwadi Manch” (Socialist Forum) in August while coming out once again in open criticism of his nephew for not honouring his commitment to restore Mulayam’s position as the party chief.

Following the raids by the income tax department on Lalu Prasad and his family members, relations between the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar have taken a turn for the worse.

Kumar did not attend the lunch hosted for the two leaders last month by the Congress chief. Prasad hit back by staying away from the Chennai rally, while Kumar was present.