Presidential poll: Mamata Banerjee wants THIS candidate to be nominee

Non-BJP parties are mulling former union minister Yashwant Sinha over as a possible joint candidate for the upcoming presidential election, a senior Trinamool Congress leader said on Monday. The name of the former BJP leader who joined the TMC last year has been proposed as a presidential poll candidate by a few opposition parties and three to four, have seconded it, he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee received such phone calls and she is also pitching for Sinha as the joint opposition nominee, he said. Earlier, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and former West Bengal governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi were proposed but all of them declined the request.

Yashwant Sinha is a TMC leader now. So, we don’t want any confusion that the proposal has gone from us. As of now, three to four parties have agreed on his name. Now let others decide, the senior TMC leader said.

Sinha’s name will be discussed at a meeting of major opposition parties convened by NCP chief Sharad Pawar in New Delhi to build a consensus on fielding a joint candidate against the BJP-led NDA on Tuesday.

TMC national general secretary and MP Abhishek Banerjee will represent his party at the meeting.

Mamata Banerjee had called such a meeting of 22 non-BJP parties last week in the national capital. Seventeen of them attended it.

Banerjee proposed Pawar, Abdullah and Gandhi as possible joint opposition candidate in the presidential election but they did not accept the request. Sinha’s name surfaced thereafter.

Sinha had served as Union Finance minister twice – once in the Chandra Sekhar cabinet in 1990 and then again in the Vajpayee ministry. He also held the portfolio of the External Affairs ministry in the Vajpayee cabinet.

The process to elect a new president began on June 15. The last date for filing nominations is June 29. The polls, if necessary, will be held on July 18 and the counting on July 21.

Atul Tiwari

Atul Tiwari

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