Presidential polls: Opposition trying to zero in on joint candidate, says Sitaram Yechury

Hyderabad: CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury today said opposition parties were in the process of zeroing in on a joint candidate for the upcoming presidential poll, and Gopal Krishna Gandhi was among the probable choices.
“One round of discussions were held with all parties.

We, the opposition parties, are now trying to follow it up and zero in on one candidate…to sponsor him,” he told reporters here.

Asked about whether Gopal Krishna Gandhi, a former bureaucrat who also served as the governor of West Bengal, was being considered, he replied in the affirmative.

“He is also under consideration. I had spoken to him about two months ago. We told him ‘you are a good candidate’. He said he will consider if all (opposition parties) approached him together.

So, he will be there,” Yechury said.
He, however, refused to name others being considered by the opposition for fielding a joint candidate against the ruling NDA nominee, saying the individuals concerned might face problems.

“I am not telling names because you (media) had written that (L K) Advani would be the president. We did not say, of course. Two days after writing that, Babri (Masjid) case got revived. So, don’t ask names. It will be dangerous for those individuals. Such a government is there,” he said.

He assailed the BJP for not trying to build a consensus around a candidate for the post of the president, and alleged it indicated that the ruling party wanted a “communal supervision of the Constitution”.

“Nitish Kumar (the Bihar chief minister) said there is no objection if Pranab Mukherjee becomes a consensus candidate. The ruling party has to take an initiative if a consensus candidate is to emerge.

They are not taking any initiative. So, it is clear that they want a communal supervision of the Constitution,” he said.

Citing the election of APJ Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil as examples, he said the ruling party normally reaches out to the opposition whether the latter agrees to its proposal or not.

Yechury evaded a direct reply when asked about the likely timing of announcement of the joint opposition candidate, saying let the notification come first.

“Let the notification of election come. The whole point is that now there will be a situation where the ruling party and the government are waiting for the opposition to announce the candidate.

So, they will do the counter.
“So, we should also wait. Let’s see. The ruling party has to take the initiative,” Yechury said.