TMC chief Mamata Banerjee to hold joint opposition meet to decide common candidate for presidential polls

New Delhi:

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will convene a joint meeting of the opposition on Wednesday to consider a common candidate for the upcoming presidential election.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee had last week written a letter to 22 opposition leaders and chief ministers of non-BJP states requesting them to attend the meeting on June 15.

He wrote letters to other leaders of non-BJP parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Saturday.

The meeting will be held at 3 pm at the Constitution Club in the national capital. Several opposition parties are expected to attend the meeting and discuss the joint candidate.

In the letter, Mamata Banerjee said the presidential election provides an opportunity for all progressive opposition parties to reconsider the future of Indian politics at a time when “divisive forces” are plaguing it.

“A nation with a strong democratic character needs a strong and effective opposition. All the progressive forces in this country need to stay in alliance and oppose the divisive force that is plaguing us today. Opposition leaders are being deliberately targeted by various central agencies, the country’s image is being tarnished at the international level and bitter differences are being created within. It’s time to dump her and move on,” she said in the letter.

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She also stressed that at a time when democracy is going through “troubled times”, a “fruitful confluence” of opposition voices is needed to resonate with “deprived and under-represented” communities.

“The election is important because it gives legislators the opportunity to participate in deciding the head of state who is the guardian of our democracy. Delhi 19 June 2022 at 3 pm I look forward to participating,” Mamata Banerjee said.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge (who is also Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha), Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala may join the meeting on behalf of the party.

Ahead of the big meeting, Mamata Banerjee had met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his residence in Delhi on Tuesday.

Sharad Pawar’s party NCP has denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning Pawar’s candidacy have been made more than once.”

News agency PTI quoted a NCP minister as saying that the NCP chief did not want to confine himself to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and was busy trying to bring the opposition together before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Elections for the country’s highest constitutional post will be held on July 18 and counting of votes will be held on July 21. The 4,809 members of the constituency comprising MPs and MLAs are ready to elect current President Ram Nath Kovind’s successor.

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