New Delhi: Opposition parties, on Monday spurned the BJP’s appeal for consensus on its choice for president and said the opposition would take a call on contesting the election after a meeting on June 22.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the BJP had taken a ‘unilateral decision’. “Congress does not want to comment on this issue as we want to take a unanimous decision with all other opposition parties on the presidential elections. The final call will be taken in a meeting of all opposition parties on June 22,” Azad told reporters.
CPI also said that the opposition parties should field their candidate against Ram Nath Kovind as he is from the ranks of RSS. “He is also from RSS ranks. He was president of Dalit BJP Morcha...Sangh Pariwar organisation. Definitely, we will put up a candidate. Anybody from RSS...we will fight,” CPI General Secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy said.
While the CPI(M) said the BJP ‘unilaterally’ selected Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA’s presidential nominee. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the non-NDA parties will take the decision ‘keeping in mind the country’s history that the ruling and opposition parties contested the polls on all occasion except once”.
Terming the BJP’s efforts to reach out to the opposition through its senior leaders as a ‘formality and a PR exercise’, Azad said the ruling party should have built consensus before announcing the candidate.
“But they informed us after announcing this decision so there is no scope for consensus now... we were not expecting this from the ruling party. But it is their will, they are free to take a one-sided unilateral decision,” Azad added.’’
Asked to comment on the BJP fielding a Dalit candidate for the top constitutional post, Azad said, “...I don’t want to comment on this...I don’t want to comment on the merits and demerits of the candidate.”