Seventeen parties of the opposition have together picked former bureaucrat and AB Vajpayee-era Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, who revolted against the BJP apparently due to his exclusion from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s council of ministers, as the joint opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential election. He will file the nomination papers on 27 June at 11:30 AM.
Today, Trinamool Congress leader Yashwant Sinha said that it was time to step aside from party politics and work for a larger national interest. The decision came soon after the Trinamool Congress decided to propose his name as the joint opposition candidate for the top post.
“I am grateful to Mamataji for the honour and prestige she bestowed on me in the Trinamool Congress. Now a time has come when for a larger national cause, I must step aside from the party to work for greater opposition unity. I am sure she approves of the step,” Yashwant Sinha tweeted.
Leaders of 17 opposition parties, who gathered at a Parliament annexe meeting convened by NCP chief Sharad, agreed on Yashwant Sinha’s name. The parties that attended the meeting include the INC, NCP, Trinamool Congress, CPI, CPI(M), Samajwadi Party, National Conference, AIMIM, RJD and AIUDF.
“I would like to congratulate Yashwant Sinha on becoming the consensus candidate, supported by all progressive opposition parties. A man of great honour and acumen, who would surely uphold the values that represent our great nation,” Mamata Banerjee said.
“It is my firm belief that for all progressive parties who share the same vision for our nation, there could not have been a better choice,” said Trinamool Congress’s Abhishek Banerjee.
Earlier, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi had turned down offers to be the joint opposition candidate for the presidential election.
On 15 June, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had called a meeting of 17 opposition parties to build a consensus for a joint presidential candidate against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). But with numbers on its side, the NDA is expected to ensure the victory of its candidate in the presidential elections.
The election will be held on 18 July and the result will be declared on 21 July. The counting of votes, if required, will be held in Delhi.