Opposition’s choice of president likely today; Meira Kumar, Gopal Gandhi in focus | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Opposition’s choice of president likely today; Meira Kumar, Gopal Gandhi in focus

The move to pick the Opposition’s candidate comes two days after the ruling BJP announced its committee to talk to all parties in an effort to build consensus for a candidate to succeed President Pranab Mukherjee.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2017 12:37 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Congress president Sonia Gandhi chair a meeting of the opposition leaders to discuss the strategy for the upcoming presidential elections, in New Delhi on Friday.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi chair a meeting of the opposition leaders to discuss the strategy for the upcoming presidential elections, in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI File Photo)

The opposition will likely name its candidate for the next President of India on Wednesday, with Congress leader Meira Kumar and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopal Krishna Gandhi among the possible nominees.

The meeting of the Opposition’s 10-member selection panel is slated for 4pm.

The move to pick the Opposition’s candidate comes two days after the ruling BJP announced its committee to talk to all parties in an effort to build consensus for a candidate to succeed President Pranab Mukherjee, who demits office on July 24.

The Opposition panel comprises Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge from the Congress, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, JD(U) veteran Sharad Yadav, NCP leader Praful Patel, Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha floor leader Derek o’Brien, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra, RJD leader Lalu Prasad and DMK’s RS Bharathi.

Former Lok Sabha speaker Kumar and Gandhi are on the Opposition list of possible candidates. But a section of its leaders wants to wait for the government to first name its nominee. “Ideally, the government should reach out to us. After we see who is their candidate, we can decide our own,” said Sitaram Yechury.

Government sources said they will first talk to their allies and then talk to the Opposition leaders. “We will speak to all Opposition parties,” I&B minister Venkaiah Naidu said.

The last date of filing nominations is June 28. The polling, if required, will be held on July 17 and the results declared on July 20.

The Opposition faces an uphill task in putting its candidate in the Rashtrapati Bhawan as it’s more than 1.5 lakh votes short in the Presidential election. The NDA, on the other hand, needs just 20,000 votes to get a majority.