Presidential polls: CPI(M) sets June 20 ‘deadline’ for govt to declare candidate

New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Saturday said that the Opposition will declare its Presidential candidate if ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fails to announce its choice by June 20.

Yechury said, “There was no question of talking any further. So, now what we are saying is if they (government) do not tell us the name of their Presidential candidate by June 20, then we will appeal to other opposition parties that we should all meet on June 21 and declare our candidate. That is the only way in which we can go ahead.”

He also said that there was no need for the BJP to call for a consensus on the Presidential candidate by just saying that India needs a president.

“What is required is how will be the President, on which the government did not come with any proposal,” lamented Yechury.

He added that “as per current situation, India needs such a presidential figure whose secular credentials are impeccable and have the capacity to uphold the constitutional values of the Indian Republic”.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday met Yechury. However, Yechury termed the meeting as a ‘PR exercise’ since no names of suitable candidates were proposed by them.

“They did not come forward with any name. They said that they want our support. Support can be given to a particular individual. We want such a person who can uphold the Constitution. We would have certainly thought about such a person, but they did not suggest any name. So, there is nothing to think when they did not suggest any names,” Yechury said.

Singh and Naidu also met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence to discuss matters related to next month’s presidential elections.

Both of them have already spoken to Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Praful Patel and Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Satish Mishra.

Naidu on Thursday spoke to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu over the same.

The TDP chief said his party will stand by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision in this regard.

President Pranab Mukherjee’s term comes to an end on July 24. The Presidential election will be held on July 17.

The Election Commission said the last date of nomination is June 28 and the counting of votes will be taken up on July 20.

President Mukherjee will demit office on July 25.