Presidential polls: Sharad Pawar has ruled himself out of race, says Sitaram Yechury
At a time when several media reports have stated that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar is the joint opposition's preferred consensus candidate for next month's presidential elections, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday said the veteran politician has ruled himself out of the race.
“I have been told that Pawar will not be the opposition face for the presidential poll, some other names are under consideration,” Yechury said after a delegation of Left leaders, including Yechury himself, met the NCP chief at his residence in Delhi.
The CPI(M) leader's remarks came on a day when West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, Mamata Banerjee, too, called on the NCP chief in the national capital. According to reports, the two leaders discussed presidential elections during their meeting.
The developments took place a day before opposition parties are scheduled to meet in Delhi to discuss the polls; last Saturday, Banerjee wrote to as many as 22 opposition parties, inviting them for the said meeting.
However, the Left parties - CPI(M) and CPI – will be represented at the meeting by their respective Rajya Sabha MPs, and not the top leadership. The two parties have already expressed their objection at Banerjee ‘unilaterally’ convening the opposition meet.
The elections for India's 15th President will take place on July 18, followed by counting of votes, if needed, on July 21. The stipulated five-year tenure of the incumbent, Ram Nath Kovind, will end on July 24.
(With PTI inputs)