Venkaiah Naidu speaks to Sharad Pawar, TDP chief over presidential election

New Delhi: Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday spoke to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who is part of the opposition bloc, and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, a BJP ally, over the presidential poll.

While Chandrababu said he would support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call on the presidential nominee, Pawar offered no assurance and said he would be in the national capital in a few days for further talks on the matter.

The three-member committee, of which Naidu besides Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley are members, formed by BJP chief Amit Shah to consult political parties has so far reached out to Congress, BSP, NCP, TDP, CPM and AINC (NR).

Formal consultations begin tomorrow with Naidu and Singh scheduled to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.

A group of nine opposition parties, including the Congress, the Left and the NCP besides the likes of the SP, BSP, JD(U) and RJD, has maintained that they will finalise their stand only after the BJP-led NDA discloses its candidate.

Many of them have made it clear that they will put up a joint candidate if the BJP nominee is seen as someone with strong Hindutva background.