Published: Sat, June 17, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Meeting on presidential elections remains inconclusive

Meeting on presidential elections remains inconclusive

Questioned about the goal of the meeting, Kharge said, "That is only to meet and they are seeking cooperation". He also called up Satish Mishra of the Mayawati-led BSP and Praful Patel of the NCP, headed by Sharad Pawar.

Naidu also had a conversation on this with NCP Chief Sharad Pawar over the phone and met AIADMK leader Thambidurai.

Sources in the meeting told WION that BJP leaders instead of suggesting names asked Congress if they have someone in mind.

But, in all probability, it is unlikely that the government emissaries would discuss any specific names with Opposition parties, since there is great possibility of even them not knowing about the BJP's choice. Also present at the meeting were senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad.

After the meeting, both the Congress and the CPI (M) claimed that no consensus would be reached unless a name was proposed by the government.

Questioned about the objective of the meeting, Mallikarjun Kharge, who was also present said, "What I can guess is just they are seeking cooperation because they have already got something in their mind".

But Congress leaders are wary of the BJP's intention in taking other parties along to come up with a candidate who is truly acceptable to most parties.

The Left is trying to put pressure on the Congress and other Opposition parties to field a candidate as there could be a "political fight" in the poll. The meeting had made a decision to wait for the government proposal on the matter before taking a further view.

"We had expected that they would suggest some name on which we could have seriously considered".

While the BJP had said its three-member committee will meet the Congress on Friday to select a consensus presidential candidate, Congress insists it has not received any formal proposal yet. "However, we will choose a candidate from a secular party", he said.

Throughout the day, there were strong murmurs around Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj's name being proposed for President but none came on record to speak about the issue. Since no names were given by the ruling side, there is no question of any discussion and cooperation...

The first meeting between the government and the opposition remained inconclusive. "Without name, it is a pre-concluded exercise, merely a Public Relations drill", Sitaram Yechury told reporters after the meeting.

However, government sources said disclosing the name of its candidate before consultations with political parties may not be appropriate.

Curiously, on Friday, two days ahead of his scheduled meeting with BJP president Amit Shah, Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray threw another name into the ring - that of M.S. Swaminathan, who had played a leading role in India's Green Revolution, in view of the ongoing agrarian crisis.

Sinha also said that Advani, who is 89, is "physically fit" for the post and no one has come out against his candidature.

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