- Congress chief Sonia Gandhi reached out to Opposition leaders over upcoming Presidential elections
- Mamata Banerjee has also convened a meeting of Oppn leaders, CMs in Delhi on June 15
- Poll for the President of India will be held on July 18
Presidential elections 2022: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday reached out to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and other opposition leaders pertaining to the upcoming presidential elections, Congress said in a statement.
Congress said that it has not suggested any particular name for the presidential election's candidate.
"We need to rise above our differences for the sake of the nation. The Indian National Congress along with other political parties will be taking this discussion forward," the party said.
Meanwhile, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee wrote to opposition leaders, requesting them to attend a meeting convened by her on June 15 in New Delhi to prepare a joint strategy for the upcoming presidential poll.
Mamata to convene meeting of Oppn leaders on June 15
Banerjee sent a letter to 22 opposition leaders, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
She said the Presidential election provides the perfect opportunity for all progressive opposition parties to deliberate on the future course of national politics when the divisive forces are plaguing the country.
"Our hon'ble chairperson @MamataOfficial calls upon all progressive opposition forces to meet and deliberate on the future course of action keeping the Presidential election in sight, at the Constitution Club, New Delhi on June 15 2022 at 3 PM," Banerjee's Trinamool Congress said.
Banerjee has reached out to the opposition CMs and leaders to participate in the joint meeting in the national capital, according to a statement issued by her party.
"With the Presidential election around the corner, Hon'ble CM of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, with an initiative of strong & effective opposition against the divisive forces, has reached out to the opposition CMs and leaders to participate in a joint meeting," it said.
Poll for the President of India will be held on July 18, the Election Commission announced on Thursday, with 4,809 members of the electoral college comprising MPs and MLAs set to elect the successor to incumbent Ram Nath Kovind.
Banerjee, in her letter, said a nation with a robust democratic character requires a strong and effective opposition, and all progressive parties need to come together to resist the divisive forces that are plaguing the country.
"Opposition leaders are being deliberately targeted by different central agencies, the country's image is maligned internationally and bitter dissensions are created within. It is time we strengthen our resistance," she said in the letter.
Banerjee also said, "The election is monumental because it gives legislators the opportunity to participate in deciding the Head of our State who is the custodian of our democracy. At a time when our democracy is going through troubling times, I believe that a fruitful confluence of opposition voices is the need of the hour; to echo the deprived and unrepresented communities."
The development came a day after senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge consulted with Banerjee and leaders of the DMK, CPI, CPI-M and the AAP for putting up a joint opposition candidate.
The BJP, while reacting to Banerjee's call to the opposition parties, said it wouldn't yield any result.
"We have seen such attempts during the 2017 presidential poll, but it has not yielded any result. This time the opposition will face defeat," BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.
The Presidential election is conducted indirectly through an electoral college consisting of elected members of Parliament and legislative assemblies of states and union territories.
The number and value of votes of each voter from the state legislatures are worked out by a formula which takes into account the state's population in 1971.
In an electoral college of around 10.86 lakh votes, the BJP-led alliance is estimated to have more than 48 per cent of the votes and is hopeful that non-aligned regional parties will support it.
(With inputs from PTI)