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Opposition parties want common candidate for Presidential polls

With less than three months to go before India elects a new President, Opposition parties on Monday closed ranks in their quest for a common candidate to challenge the ruling BJP.

india Updated: May 07, 2017 00:10 IST
Srinand Jha
With less than three months to go before India elects a new President, Opposition parties on Monday closed ranks in their quest for a common candidate to challenge the ruling BJP.
With less than three months to go before India elects a new President, Opposition parties on Monday closed ranks in their quest for a common candidate to challenge the ruling BJP.(PTI File Photo)

 Describing the Presidential elections in July as an “acid test” for Opposition unity, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury stressed on the need for non-NDA parties to ensure the victory of a candidate who can uphold the Indian Constitution in letter and spirit.

Yechury’s call found several takers, as leaders of several parties pitched for a common candidate at a conclave of Opposition parties convened on Monday to mark the 95th birth anniversary of late socialist leader Madhu Limaye.

Chastened after the BJP’s overwhelming victories in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections and the Delhi municipal polls, Opposition leaders displayed rare bonhomie by making a combined appeal for unity to challenge the growth of the saffron party.

Among the participants at Monday’s function were Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Digvijaya Singh (Congress), Atul Anjaan (CPI), DP Tripathi (NCP) and Danish Ali (JD-S).

Yechury said the challenge was to build a narrative of “real nationalism” versus the “Hindutva nationalism” of the BJP. The Marxist leader said the saffron party had brought about a fusion of its communal agenda with the developmental theme.

“Facts of the case are at variance from what the BJP propagates. “One per cent citizens held 49% of the country’s wealth when the BJP took office. The same one per cent today controls 58.5% of the wealth. The rich have been getting richer. The Opposition parties need to build an effective counter narrative,” Yechury said.

Speaking in similar vein, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said the Opposition campaign should be centered on a “positive narrative”. “The Grand Alliance” idea must be pursued as a war of ideologies, rather than being focused on personalities,” he said.

Singh insisted that the phase of “anti-Congressism” was over, and said that just two ideologies were relevant today: “The fascist, communal ideology versus the secular, democratic ideals”.

Former JD (U) President Sharad Yadav said there was a need to aggressively push for “inclusive political ideologies” at a time when minorities across the country were feeling insecure.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi is likely to convene a meeting with leaders of non-NDA parties in the second week of this month to fine tune plans for a common candidate for the Presidential elections.