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Presidential poll: Rajnath Singh speaks to key Opposition leaders, Naveen, Nitish as BJP eyes consensus candidate : The Tribune India



New Delhi, June 15

The BJP on Wednesday began the consultation exercise on evolving a consensus name for the presidential election with senior party leader Rajnath Singh speaking to a number of key opposition leaders, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, BSP supremo Mayawati, Mallikarjun Kharge, Mamata Banerjee and Akhilesh Yadav, sources said on Wednesday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has authorised Singh and party’s chief J P Nadda to consult with other parties for building consensus on a presidential candidate.

Singh made the calls to Kharge, Banerjee and Yadav besides some other leaders on a day when leaders of 17 opposition parties met here to build a consensus on a joint opposition candidate.

Singh has also called Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to deliberate upon the presidential polls, the sources said.

The opposition leaders asked Singh about BJP-led NDA’s nominee for the presidential election, they said.

During the meeting convened by Banerjee, at least two more names emerged—National Conference (NC) supremo Farooq Abdullah and former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi—after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar declined to be a candidate for the post of President.

The election for the President will be held on July 18, while the nomination process began from Wednesday. Incumbent Ram Nath Kovind’s term ends on July 24.

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