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Mamata-led Opposition meet flopping miserably as TRS, AAP, BJD skip meeting

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Won’t share any platform with the Congress, says TRS, while BJD and AAP too skip meeting called by Mamata Banerjee to discuss Presidential election

Presidential polls: Mamata tries best to unify Opposition, flops miserably

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – ANI

In a bid to test the Opposition unity and unify forces against the BJP, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has called for a meeting today. The West Bengal chief minister will discuss a joint strategy for the upcoming presidential polls in the meeting today that starts at 3 pm in Delhi.

While Mamata Banerjee has written to 22 Opposition parties, inviting them to be part of a single platform against the BJP, her attempt to unify the Opposition parties is already falling flat as Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) have decided to skip the meet.

Along with the Congress, NCP, SP, RJD, NC, CPM, CPI, JMM, Shiv Sena, IUML, PDP, JDS and RLD are likely to attend the meeting.

While TRS did forge a bond with TMC earlier with a common goal of defeating the BJP, Chandrashekhar Rao’s party opted out of the meeting as they would not share “any platform with the Congress”.

On Tuesday, 14 June, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee held talks with veteran leader Sharad Pawar at his residence in Delhi. During the meet, Banerjee asked Pawar to be the opposition nominee for presidential polls. However, the NCP chief, declined the offer.

Banerjee wrote on Twitter, “Two stalwart leaders set the stage for the meeting of all progressive opposition forces; set to happen tomorrow at the Constitution Club, New Delhi. Our resolve to fight divisive forces grows stronger!”

Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjuna Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala will represent the Congress at the meet.

Reports now say that Opposition has suggested the name of Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, for the presidential polls. Gopalkrishna Gandhi has sought time to think over the matter, sources said, reports News18.

Another non-BJP face to skip the meet will be YS Jagan Mohan Reddy who is not among the 22 opposition leaders to have received an invite from Banerjee.

While CPI (M) is miffed about Banerjee’s unilateral decision to call a meeting suddenly, general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI general secretary D Raja said the top leadership will not attend the meet but will send representatives for it.

“We received a unilateral communication informing the date, time, venue and agenda. Your letter mentions ‘a fruitful confluence of opposition voices is the need of the hour’. This could have been better achieved if there had been mutual consultation and a proper time to enable party leaders to reschedule their prior commitments to attend such a meeting. “Unfortunately, there were only three days between the receipt of your letter and the date of the meeting,” said Yechury.

The presidential polls will be held on 18 July and the results will be declared on 21 July.

(With input from agencies)

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