NEW DELHI: A sub-group formed by opposition parties for the upcoming presidential poll is likely to meet within a week to come up with a consensus candidate for the post.
This was stated by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad after the meeting of the Congress Working Committee, where the issue came up for discussion.
"The upcoming election of the President and Vice President of India was briefly discussed because very recently we had an all-party meeting," he said, noting that Congress President Sonia Gandhi had hosted a lunch for senior leaders of opposition parties in Parliament. "It was decided during that meeting that we should have a small sub group and that sub group should discuss as to how to go about the presidential and vice presidential election," he said.
The Congress chief has initiated talks on the presidential elections and is seeking to unite all opposition parties on the issue to put up a consensus candidate against the NDA nominee. "We will have a meeting of this sub-group in a week's time," Azad said when asked when this group would meet. Sources said the date of the meeting as also its members are yet to be decided.
They that the opposition leaders have asked NCP supremo Sharad Pawar to coordinate on the issue with various parties The sub-group was formed after deliberations with leaders of 17 opposition parties at Sonia Gandhi's lunch last month to chalk out a strategy and come out with a consensus candidate.
Earlier in her speech at the CWC, Sonia Gandhi said in a few weeks the country will be electing the President and Vice President of India and like-minded parties should find such a candidate who could occupy the high offices and act as a protector of the Constitution. "In times such as these, it is even more essential that those who occupy this august office protect the Constitution. "Dr Manmohan Singh, Rahul, other colleagues and I have met the leaders of like-minded parties to find commonly acceptable candidates for these high offices.
A subgroup of representatives has been constituted to take this forward," she said at the meeting. Sources said that the Presidential polls will be held in July, which will be followed by elections for the post of Vice President in August.
President Pranab Mukherjee is completing his tenure on July 24, while Vice President Hamid Ansari's second term ends on August 10. The sources said though no consensus has emerged on the name, the parties are working on it.
Among some prominent names doing the rounds are Gopal Krishan Gandhi, Sharad Yadav and Sharad Pawar, besides Meira Kumar. Sharad Pawar has, however, announced that he is not in the race. There is also talk of a second term for incumbent Pranab Mukherjee, as proposed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, but that may not happen till the ruling dispensation proposes his name.