Opposition parties to meet over Presidential election candidate

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Opposition parties will meet to decide their choice of candidate
Opposition parties will meet to decide their choice of candidate

New Delhi : Opposition parties will meet here on Thursday afternoon to decide their choice of candidate for the July 17 Presidential election, as scheduled earlier.

The meeting will be chaired by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, a day after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's party Janata Dal-United (JD-U) decided to support NDA Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind. 

"Today in the opposition parties meeting which shall be chaired by Congress President Sonia Gandhi these issues (Presidential candidate) would be discussed," Congress leader Mallikarjuna Kharge said here.

"Let us see what comes out of the meeting," he said. 

Reacting to the JD-U's decision to support National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) Presidential candidate Kovind, Kharge said: "Nitish Kumar's party JD-U's announcement to support Kovind is his decision."

"Earlier in the opposition parties' meeting, JD-U leader Sharad Yadav had advised not to decide on the Presidential candidate in hurry," he added.

Sharad Yadav was also a member of the sub-committee formed by opposition parties to decide their presidential candidate. 

Sonia Gandhi had taken the initiative to talk to opposition parties to evolve a consensus on a presidential poll candidate. Nitish Kumar was among the leaders who met her and JD-U leaders took part in all meetings of the grouping.

The Left parties are keen to put up a candidate against Kovind in what they call an "ideological battle".

While some parties have floated the name of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as the combined opposition candidate, the other name doing the rounds is of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who too belongs to the Dalit community.