As India is heading towards the crucial presidential elections with the less-likely second term for the incumbent Ram Nath Kovind, it is prefixing how the opposition parties are standing in solidarity with a consensual candidate for the president to stamp their objective of defeating the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The large league of opposition leaders has held a meeting earlier in Delhi and it was presided by Trinamool Congress Chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The tenure of Ram Nath Kovind is coming to an end next month as the presidential polls would be held on July 18 and the winner would be announced on July 21.
Besides the big mathematical game, the ruling and opposition parties are getting ready to lock horns and if the entire opposition parties decide to stand together, they can put their candidate as the next President as they have a number that is slightly higher than the BJP coalition. The opposition league has worked out to back the veteran politician who holds the prominence across the nation.
It was speculated that the Chief of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Sharad Pawar would be the Opposition's candidate for the Presidential polls. However, Pawar has ruled out his candidacy for the President following which the opposition leaders spoke with Farooq Abdullah, who was the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. However, to the shock of the opposition league, Abdullah has also refused his candidacy for the President.
Following Abdullah's denial, all eyes were on Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the former Governor of West Bengal and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. Gopalkrishna Gandhi ran for the Vice Presidential polls in the previous election but he had conceded the defeat to Venkaiah Naidu. While the opposition approached him to back him as their presidential candidate, Gopalkrishna Gandhi too had declined the offer to be the presidential candidate of the opposition league.
After the back-to-back setbacks and twists, the opposition league has finally found its candidate and to everyone's surprise, former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha is the opposition's presidential candidate. Sinha has served as a Union Minister in the Vajpayee government. After quitting the BJP, 84-year-old Sinha has joined Trinamool Congress and his possible candidature has come to the spotlight after he said that he is quitting the Trinamool Congress for a larger national cause.
Sinha took to Twitter on Tuesday - June 21 wrote, "I am grateful to Mamatji for the honour and prestige she bestowed on me in the TMC. 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." His tweet has been going viral and it has become evident that he will most likely be the Opposition's presidential candidate.
His tweet has come in the morning hours of Tuesday and in the afternoon, the opposition leaders had gathered at Sharad Pawar's residence in Delhi and after hectic meetings, the opposition has finally announced Yashwant Sinha as the presidential candidate. The Congress party has also backed Sinha's candidacy and has appealed to all the political parties to vote for Sinha.
Congress's Communication Chief Jairam Ramesh said, "In the forthcoming Presidential elections, we have decided to elect a common candidate and stop the Modi government from doing further damage. At a subsequent meeting held today, we have chosen Yashwant Sinha as a common candidate. We appeal to all political parties to vote for Yashwant Sinha." Furthermore, the opposition has appealed to the BJP and its allies to support the candidature of Sinha so that the nation can have a worthy Rashtrapati elected unopposed.
The MPs and MLAs are eligible to vote for the Presidential polls and the process to elect the nation's highest office holder has begun on June 15. The last date for filing nominations is June 29 and if the polls are necessitated, the voting would be held on July 18. The results would be announced on July 21. On the other hand, the BJP has been in the process of announcing its candidate, showcasing that it won't back Sinha as a common candidate.