CPI(M) gives Govt. June 20 as 'deadline' to declare Prez candidate

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“We expected that BJP leaders will come up with some name, one or more, for the post of President of India, so that the Congress party could take a call on that.

Singh and Naidu, who are part of a BJP panel to work out a consensus on the presidential nominee, met Yechury as part of its efforts to reach out to the opposition.

The government on Friday formally began its outreach with the opposition on the presidential election with senior ministers Rajnath Singh and M. Venkaiah Naidu meeting Congress President Sonia Gandhi, but placed no name of its nominee, forcing the party to rule out any cooperation on a consensus.

Shankersinh Vaghela, Gujarat state chief who defected from the BJP, and MLAs close to him, are all set for Ghar Wapsi (homecoming) to the BJP with reports of party president Amit Shah in direct contact with them. "But that they did not convey.they will take some time to do that". However, both the NDA and Opposition parties have so far failed to come up with the names of their respective candidates for the Presidential Election 2017. "Now if you don't want to give (a suggestion), then we will go to them after taking a decision", the BJP president told reporters in Mumbai on Saturday.

Similarly, when it comes to the names of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi, UP governor Ram Naik, or even Union ministers Thawarchand Gehlot or Sushma Swaraj, other parties believe they are just names for the time being that may or may not emerge as BJP's candidates for the post of either president or vice president.

At Friday's interaction, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi did not mince words in conveying to the two Union Ministers that she did not understand how the government could hope for a consensus without specific names.

Yesterday, the first meeting between the government and the opposition on presidential elections remained inconclusive as no names were discussed by either side.

The two ministers also met CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

The meeting, which lasted over 20 minutes, was also attended by senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge. He said there is no question of consensus as there are no names to discuss. Gopal Krishna Gandhi, who remains the front-runner as the Opposition candidate, has already held talks with Mrs Gandhi, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerji.

The opposition leaders were told that the government and the BJP would like to finalise the candidate for the presidential poll before Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves on a three-nation trip on June 24. "Very good, they came here", he said.

The two ministers had also independently spoken to former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, besides contacting Nitish Kumar, Sharad Pawar and Chandrababu Naidu. We will think about it when they suggest a name.

These sources said that the RSS has requested the BJP that the party must inform the Sangh before making any formal announcement regarding the next President, though it would prefer if detailed consultations were held prior to that.

Singh and Naidu are part of the three-member team constituted by Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah for discussion with political parties for the presidential polls. But the two-hour long meeting, and its timing, set-off speculation as Mr. Bhagwat's name was recently suggested by the Shiv Sena, a BJP ally, for President.

The Congress leader said the BJP was seeking cooperation but his party did not know what is on their mind. He has the support of the RSS and according to Firstpost, he may be the Vice Presidential candidate since the BJP wants to install a tribal-dalit duo as the President and Vice President.

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