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Five parties opt out of Mamata’s meet to discuss presidential poll

NCP chief and senior leaderSharad Pawar refused to be the opposition led candidate for the presidential elections. West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee said this after the first opposition leaders meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. Mamata Banerjee had written to 22 Opposition parties, inviting them to be part of a platform against “divisive forces". Leaders of at least 17 parties were in attendance. BJD, TRS, AAP, SAD and YSR Congress have decided to skip the meet. Along with the Congress, NCP, SP, RJD, NC, CPM, CPI, JMM, Shiv Sena, IUML, PDP, JDS, and RLD were among those who attended the meeting,  TRS and SAD have reportedly refused the invite due to Congress’s presence. The  AAP said, "Will consider the issue only after the candidate for the upcoming presidential election is declared." “There is no question of sharing any platform with the Congress,” TRS said in a statement. It added Congress was invited to the meeting despite objections and referred to Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of the TRS government in Telangana without any critical word against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). TRS accused Congress of “ganging up with the BJP” in Telangana.

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had written to 22 opposition leaders and chief ministers requesting them to attend the meeting on June 15 at the Constitution Club in New Delhi. Non-BJP parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, were requested to attend the meeting. After Pawar's refsal Ms Banerjee suggested two options - former Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah. A united oppostion is the need of the hour to fight the divisive and oppressive regime of BJP, she said.

The presidential elections will take place on July 18 and the results will be declared on July 21. June 29 is the last date for nominations. Opposition parties discussed a 21 June deadline for naming a presidential candidate and a panel of leaders to hold consultations and identify the nominee.


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